Deborah Sharp opened Sharp’s Home Furnishings with her husband Frank in Ely back in 1998. Since then, she said the two have been on a “roller coaster ride” to try and stay afloat in the ever changing market and economy for affordable furniture and appliances. Sharp cited that advances in online ordering, increasing tendency to buy items out of town and even increased competition within the city have made things difficult for the small business owners.
So what has kept them in business for over 15 years?
“Customer service has been the thing that has pulled us through the tough times,” Sharp said. “We always want to treat our customers the way we would like to be treated.”
Customers service and low prices have been the motto of the couple ever since Frank Sharp decided to branch away from his dad’s furniture store in Wendover nearly two decades ago. It’s a philosophy that should seem like a given, but in the world of bigger and bigger online retailers, a little human contact can go a long way.
Like most locally owned family businesses, the Sharp’s get a little help from family of their own. Deborah’s son Mitchell Sharp helps his father take delivery’s all over town, another staple of the Sharp’s business model.
“We offer free delivery service to anywhere in Ely and McGill,” Sharp said. “We also go out of town down to Baker and such, but we do have to charge for that.”
The word “local” means more and more to Deborah these days, as she finds it despairing that more and more people look to save a “buck or two” and spend their money online or out of town.
“Online stores might be able to undercut our prices by a little bit, but I always tell people that it is better to spend that dollar locally and support your community,” she said. “In the end, it will go farther, otherwise you’ll end up with a ghost town.”