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Sunday, September 15, 2013
A Radford auction company whose owner is known for his appearances as an appraiser on the television show "Antiques Roadshow" is moving to Salem.
Ken Farmer Auctions and Appraisals is moving into part of a large building on Midland Road near the intersection of Apperson Drive and Virginia 419.
The Radford gallery, which Ken Farmer opened almost 30 years ago, held its last auction Aug. 20. Auctions at the new location begin Sept. 24.
The move is part of a larger company change, said Farmer's son, Will Farmer, who will operate the Salem gallery.
Last year Farmer Auctions partnered with Quinn's Auction Galleries in Falls Church to buy Harlowe-Powell Auction Gallery in Charlottesville . The Charlottesville location is run by both auction companies under the name Quinn and Farmer Auction.
Will Farmer said the partnership affords both companies access to a larger area of the state and to more expertise. A member of the Quinn family also frequently appears on PBS's "Antique Roadshow."
Ken Farmer left the Radford location last fall and moved to Charlottesville to run the gallery.
The Farmers decided to relocate the Radford gallery so they could be in a bigger market, Will Farmer said.
He is rejoining the family business after a career in real estate and sales.
"It was the right opportunity for me at the right time," Farmer said.
After graduating from Roanoke College, Farmer worked at the family business for a year as an auctioneer. He then pursued a five-year career selling real estate at auction with Woltz and Associates. He spent another five years working in sales for Cox Communications. He and his family moved to Tennessee, where Farmer was a sales manager an an automobile auction house.
Farmer's work experiences have prepared him to run the Salem gallery, he said.
The gallery is already accepting consignment items Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It will hold a treasure auction
Sept. 24, followed by a catalogue auction Sept. 28. A preview to the catalogue auction and open house is scheduled for Sept. 27.
Hallmark franchise growing
A second-generation Hallmark franchisee is expanding the family business with the opening of one new store in Roanoke and the relocation of another.
Jaclyn's Hallmark will open a store at Towers Shopping Center and another at Towne Square Shopping Center, franchisee Scott Bailey said.
The Towers store will replace the store currently open at Cave Spring Corner. That store, which has been open for 25 years, will close mid-October to make the move to Towers.
The Towers store will be located on the upper level between FedEx Office and Freedom First Credit Union, Bailey said.
He expects the store to open by the end of October.
Bailey choose to close the Cave Spring store and open at Towers because he wanted a better location, he said. He likes Towers' proximity to Interstate 581 and said the rent was reasonable.
"I have wanted to be in that center for years," Bailey said.
The last time Towers had a Hallmark store it was Matthew's Hallmark, located on the lower level. It closed in 2008.
The Towne Square store should also open in late October near Office Max.
The openings bring the number of Jaclyn's stores to 17. Bailey also owns stores in Valley View Mall and Tanglewood Mall, and in North and South Carolina.
Bailey's father, Tim Bailey, started the business in 1980 by opening a store at Tanglewood. A second store in High Point, N.C., soon followed. Scott Bailey recalled that his father set up an office in their home's garage, where they received UPS packages of merchandise that they then divided up and drove to the stores.
The family gradually opened more stores. Bailey took over the family business several years ago when his father retired.
The greeting card business has changed with email and electronic invitations, but paper cards are still relevant, Bailey said.
"I don't think any of the e-cards have the same impact because those take no time or effort. People still buy Valentine's Day cards and birthday cards."
Bailey estimates that cards make up about 40 percent of his stores' sales. The rest of the sales are from collectibles, gifts, clothing and jewelry.
Big Lick expanding
A young entrepreneur has started a home grocery delivery service in Roanoke, and has plans to expand the business in a warehouse that would have a butcher shop and vertical vegetable garden.
Big Lick Grocery provides grocery delivery service to customers within a 10-mile radius of downtown Roanoke, said Jonathan Kelly, who started the business about three weeks ago.
Clients can use a mobile application to submit their orders, or fill out an online form, Kelly said. He them confirms the order with the client and shops for their items at their store of choice. Payment is collected upon delivery.
Kelly charges a "shopping fee," which is $20 for orders up to $125 and $30 for orders between $125 and $250. A 15 percent fee is charged on order totals the exceed $250.
For now, Kelly is shopping and making deliveries with the help of one employee. He will hire more workers and expand the delivery radius if business demands it, he said.
Kelly believes his business appeals to working parents, the elderly and the younger generation of workers who can pay for convenience.
He has been targeting those demographics by dropping off fliers at assisted living homes and daycares. The mobile app, Kelly said, will appeal to young workers.
Kelly would ultimately like to rent warehouse space in or near downtown Roanoke to serve as a pick-up spot for downtown workers. He also envisions the warehouse having space for a butcher's shop, and a vertical, hydroponic vegetable garden that would supply the business's produce. Two of Kelly's friends from Virginia Tech are studying horticulture and have offered their help, Kelly said.
He is currently looking for warehouse space to lease, and said he has his owns funds to pay for the lease and costs associated with the garden.
This isn't Kelly's first venture into business. Prior to opening Big Lick Grocery he had a promotional company that traveled to colleges to put on raves, and last year he launched a clothing company, LIV Clothing.
The latter got started in Roanoke about 12 years ago. Founder Greg Land said the business started off doing local deliveries, but there weren't enough loyal customers. His website, however, was bringing him customers from across the country, and he decided to stop local deliveries by vehicle and focus on fulfilling national orders via UPS. The business operates from a warehouse in Roanoke, Land said. He has about 80,000 customers, some of them in Roanoke.
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