Couple: Antonio and Andrea Williams
How long in relationship? Married since October 2020
How long in business together? Tryon Dollar Store since December 2020
Newlyweds Antonio and Andrea Williams laughed when I asked what they’re looking forward to in 2021.
“To hopefully have a honeymoon,” said Andrea, who met her future husband during the CIAA basketball tournament in 2015.
Following their October 2020 nuptials, the couple swiftly returned to plans for opening their first retail business, Tryon Dollar Store, which celebrated its grand opening on Christmas Eve.
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They knew they wanted to start with a franchise opportunity, one that would thrive in any economy. Antonio says the Dollar Store brand made sense, especially opening during the holiday season and amid a pandemic when cleaning products and household items were in high demand.
Antonio and Andrea thought they’d open the store and move on to their next venture. However, they realized that it wouldn’t be that simple.
The first pitfall: not enough space. They secured their 1,400-square-foot location in the South Point Village Shopping Center in Steele Creek and almost immediately outgrew it. By chance, the owner of an art gallery next door was moving out soon after the dollar store opened. The Williamses jumped on the opportunity.
After months of negotiation, Antonio and Andrea leased the additional space and now are in the middle of expansion plans to double the size to 2,800 square feet. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of April.
Another lesson learned was how to staff.
“It’s a juggling act,” Antonio said. “We didn’t know if we wanted to start with building leadership or actual staff members.”
Andrea’s background in HR played a major role in sorting out those logistics. They’ve filled one full-time and three part-time positions, although they admit there are still times when they go “from being owners to managers, and sometimes, employees.”
The shopping plaza is surrounded by several apartment complexes, and Andrea says they’ve taken advantage to learn the community, even making it a priority to ask community members about what inventory to stock.
“We definitely want to be the dollar store for this area,” she said.
The couple offers this advice to other couples thinking about going into business together:
“You have to have the right partner who balances you out, one who you can collaborate with and have open dialogue with to bounce things off of each other, where you can work seamlessly together day in and day out,” Andrea shared.
Antonio says couples will come up with lots of ideas, but it’s the idea with the shortest path to a dollar that will equal success.
It’s not all work. The two unwind with movie nights and karaoke at home. Prior to the pandemic, they traveled extensively and want to reinvent what that looks like for them in the coming months.
Whenever Antonio and Andrea are ready to move on to their next venture, they said it’ll likely be another real estate opportunity. But they’re dedicating 2021 to getting Tryon Dollar Store to a point where they’re not as hands-on. And of course that honeymoon.
“With all the projects that we have, we definitely owe it to ourselves to check out and relax,” Andrea said. “But it is necessary to make sure we have our staff together, our businesses tight and under control so that when we go away, we can go away not thinking about anything or anybody.”
Tryon Dollar Store is located at 10720 S. Tryon St., Unit J, in the South Point Village Shopping Center.
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