NickNacks moves to Main Street, eyes e-commerce | News

Danville wholesale appliance and home-goods store NickNacks Home Supply has moved to a new location at 200 N. Main St. The locally-owned and family-operated business opened in April on Dudley Street, offering barely-used or brand-new appliances at steep discounts.

“The city of Danville has gone through some tough times and it’s not the richest of cities right now,” said owner Nick Preston. “I felt like it would be a great place to offer a community great prices on stuff they might need. Especially with the inflation right now, times are tough for everybody, so I figured if I could make just a little bit of money — I don’t have to make a lot.”

Preston is structuring NickNacks as a “volume business,” where the focus is on selling more items at a low profit margin, keeping prices lower than a model where the focus is on a larger profit margin.

“ We’re not marking it up a lot more than what we get it for,” Preston said. “We’re just trying to save some people some money, and get the volume buying in. This is definitely the place you need to go if inflation’s hurting you. That’s exactly why I opened this business up, and I couldn’t have done it at a better time, people really need something like this right now.”

A large part of the way Preston keeps his costs down is by purchasing unsold items from “big box” retailers like Home Depot and Lowes. He sources his inventory from across four states, allowing retailers in the region to offload excess product while Preston gets quality items.

“A lot of the other products that we sell, most everything is brand-new, still in the box,” Preston said. “There’s a few ‘scratch-and-dent’ items, there’s some ‘open-box’ items. When I go to these locations that I buy stuff from, I take everything. It’s clearance, seasonal, returns, scratch-and-dents, displays, I take everything they have.”

Despite the possibility of cosmetic damage or a clearance item, Preston said the big-box sourcing means the name brands remain at discounts of 50% or more off the usual retail price.

“We sell Samsung, LG, Frigidaire, Maytag,” Preston said. “We sell top-of-the-line appliances. A lot of those come with a manufacturer warranty and they’re really good.”

Preston was transferred to Danville eight years ago for work, and started investing in real estate in the city. His wife, Gina Preston, found someone who sourced home improvement materials very cheaply.

“I wanted to go through him so I wouldn’t have to pay Lowes’ and Home Depot’s prices,” Preston said. “After a while, I built a good relationship with him, bought his part out, and opened up NickNacks.”

Today, Preston’s customers come from beyond the contractor and real estate communities.

“A lot of my clientele are just regular retail buyers,” Preston said. “They want to come in, they want a nice appliance for cheap, they want to put a new ceiling fan in their home, a new faucet. We cater to everybody.”

So far, Preston’s model and prices have been paying off: despite opening just six months ago, NickNacks has already moved from its first home on 129 Dudley St. to a Main Street address.

“We opened up this April, and we were doing so well that we decided that we wanted to expand,” Preston said. “We needed a bigger location, so we moved to 200 N. Main St. last month and we opened that up.”

200 Main St. is 10,000 square feet — five times larger than Dudley Street’s 2,000 square feet. The original location is not yet abandoned though, as Preston wants to use the original address for selling uncommon products online.

“Some of the stuff that we sell is very unique, they were special-order returns from somebody with a specific item,” Preston said. “Several items that we sell probably aren’t going to be something that an everyday person wouldn’t even look for. So I’m able to move those, and we’re opening up an eBay store.”

The Main Street location — which Preston noted “is a lot easier to get in and out of, and (is) a lot more visible” — will now be the place for in-person retail sales.

“Business is doing much better since we’ve moved locations, but I think a lot of that is just the support from the community,” Preston said. “I think a lot of our business is just coming from word-of-mouth. People come in, they shop, they think the prices and the quality’s fantastic, and I think they’re just telling their family and their friends.”

After this hot start, Preston is not looking back. He’s already got plans in the works for a Veteran’s Day sale in October, where veterans and first responders can get 10% products store-wide. He also raised the possibility of expanding to a third location next year.

“To make NickNacks a staple for Danville is my goal, so when people think of value, and want to get something for their home, they’ll think of NickNacks and come stop by and save some money.” Preston said.


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