Dysart welcomes another new business to the thriving Main Street. The Nest is a unique addition located at 401 Main Street where vendors sell vintage/antique/repurposed items, or as Shawn Grimm, owner of Orphan Annie's, describes it "ugly made pretty again" items. The Nest is run by Grimm and Juli Pippert (owner of The Painted Crow).
Orphan Annie's began as a way to raise money for the Grimm family's Haitian adoption. They began by refinishing furniture and putting the items up for sale on Facebook. A friend on Facebook told Grimm that she should take her creations out to the Little Prairie Girl Barn Sales (in Holland, IA). In September 2012, Grimm did just that.
Grimm and Pippert got to know each other through Facebook and realized that their tastes and interests were the same. Pippert was "liking" all of Grimm's photos of her creations that she posted on Facebook and the two were "pinning" the same things on Pinterest. They quickly became friends.
In October, Orphan Annie's was given the opportunity to double the booth space at the Little Prairie Girl Barn Sales. Grimm asked Pippert if she wanted to help contribute to the booth. Pippert began her first project and has been creating new items ever since.
Grimm and Pippert both work full time jobs. Their businesses are products of a hobby that they are passionate about. They both worked out of their garages and were no longer able to park their cars in their garages because they had completely filled up the space with their projects and creations.
When Grimm and Pippert first spoke with Gloria Hadachek about renting out the building at 401 Main Street, they were planning on using it as a storage and work space. But when they quickly filled the building up with their designs and creations, they decided to open up the doors to the public and call their business The Nest.
The business name is more of a name for the building, which is a "nest" for seven vendors. Grimm and Pippert sell their products in the store and The Nest is also home to other Iowa vendors including: VintiQue JUNKtion, Vintage and Vogue, Country Chic, Little Prairie Girl, and Marci's Bobbles. Marci's Bobbles sells handmade jewelry and takes custom orders.
"One woman had a vintage barrette with sentimental value. She gave it to Marci and she turned it into a beaded necklace. It was beautiful," said Grimm.
Each of the vendors design and repurpose unique and vintage items. Furniture, home dcor, scarves, candles and jewelry are just some of the items that can be found in The Nest.
The business has "taken off like wildfire", as Grimm puts it. Grimm and Pippert have found Facebook to be an important marketing tool and use it as a central part of their business.
"Today, I got on my Facebook page to check in and there was someone from California talking to me. I had a gal from Tennessee wanting to buy my gray desk and wants to road trip up here with her friend to pick it up. We also get a lot of business from Cedar Falls," said Pippert.
"Almost all of our business on Saturday was out of town business. At least half of them said they had been following us on Facebook and they had wanted to get here. If you're not using Facebook for a business tool then you're missing out," added Grimm.
Many of their out-of-town Facebook followers that make the trip to Dysart to visit The Nest aren't aware of the other shops on Main Street. The Nest is bringing in new customers to the other Dysart businesses.
"We send them down to the other shops and we send business to the Thirsty Bull Dog," said Grimm.
"We hope to bring new clients and new people to Dysart. We pull in different clientele," added Pippert.
While The Nest is attracting new business and finding success, it will remain a family oriented business.
"I work with my husband and Shawn does as well. My husband does a lot of my wood cutting. If a piece of furniture needs to be fixed, he fixes it or helps me fix it. My son likes to come up here and sweep our shop," said Pippert.
"My husband Bruce is actually on my business card because he has ideas of his own. I might want him to work on one thing and he does his own. My eight year old, Morgan, is our little shop girl. She's my designer. She likes to help go on the hunt and find things. She'll come down here with us and run the cash register. It's a good learning experience for her," commented Grimm, whose husband actually made a light fixture out of a skateboard?a creation that was sold within hours.
To the Grimm's, the business is about expanding their family once they finally receive their adopted child for Haiti. The Grimm's plan to adopt is in response to what they feel is a calling, after seeing the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They were also inspired by speaking with other Dysart families who have adopted.
"Orphan Annie's is to raise money for our adoption but once we have funded our adoption, our plan is to take a percentage of our sales to help other people fund their adoptions. International adoption is almost cost preventative because it is so expensive," said Grimm. Their adoption is currently at a standstill because Haitian adoptions are currently on hold while Haiti is in the process of obtaining International Accreditation.
Grimm and Pippert invite everyone to stop by and check out their shop. They promise that customers will find unique one-of-a-kind items. They also take custom requests as time permits.
"We are unique and reasonably priced. We are constantly changing. We have turned the merchandise over many times since opening December 1st. We have a few things left from the original opening day?but not much. The Nest is different than the other shops on Main Street and is a good complementary business," said Grimm.
The Nest is open for business Thursday evenings from 5-7 and Saturdays from 9-3. They will also open the shop doors by request, if they are available.