Vicki Ellis understands the struggle low-income and working-class families deal with. Between paying for rent, bills and other expenses, it can be hard to afford getting new clothes, toys for children other other such items.
Ellis seeks to address this problem with her newly opened business, Ashlynn’s Attic, which offers a variety of products for sale at very low prices.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to help the community out,” she said. “There’s not a lot of businesses in town that help the people who are less fortunate, and that’s the kind of place I want to have.”
Products sold at Ashlynn’s Attic come at cheap prices, with many clothing items hovering around $1 or less. An avid shopper at yard sales, Ellis was able to acquire many of these items for a low price, meaning she is also able to sell them at equally low values. She also accepts donations of items, which interested customers are able to bring in to the store any time during business hours or contact Ellis to set up the donation.
While the primary entrance of the store, located at the former TOGS clothing store and Primitive Scentiments, is mostly dedicated toward clothing, there is a connected room that contains many other items Ellis has acquired. This collection includes toys, DVDs, books, toaster ovens, records, bed sheet sets, baby seats and more, all offered at low prices.
The storefront represents a change for Ellis, who formerly ran a carnival and a DJ business, as it is her first brick-and-mortar store.
“i just wanted to do something different,” she said.
The idea for Ashlynn’s Attic came to Ellis about a year ago, as she found herself gathering more and more random things from yard sales. Inspiration for focusing the store on low prices for working-class families came from a relative of Ellis.
“My niece has always been working, and she always just comes up short a little bit with school clothes and stuff like that, and I know there’s not a lot of help out there for working families,” Ellis said.
The name Ashlynn’s Attic comes from Ellis’ oldest granddaughter, who is around 2 1/2 years old. Ellis hopes that one day, her granddaughter will be able to take over the storefront, if she so wishes.
While only having just opened on Oct. 30, Ellis has already made many connections with other Titusville businesses to ingrain herself into the community. She has partnerships with Twisted Wicker and Titusville Market Square, whereby the stores exchange items to each other if they might be better suited to the other storefront.
Ellis is also looking into acquiring grants in the future that will allow her to offer sports equipment and musical supplies to kids for low prices, though she said that idea is still in the early stages and may not come about until the spring.
Currently leasing her storefront, Ellis hopes to one day purchase her own property to house Ashlynn’s Attic. Without rent to pay, she said this will allow her to offer her various wares at even cheaper prices.
She also plans to one day offer consignment at her business, selling products on behalf of other people.
While much of her products come from yard sales and donations, Ellis also on occasion drives up to Erie and buys new items from larger stores, such as the department store Marshall’s, and brings them back to sell at Ashlynn’s Attic. In such cases, she sells the items for the same price she bought them at.
“A lot of people can’t afford to go to Erie, you know, because nobody has a vehicle,” Ellis said in explaining the practice “So if I see something, I’ll bring it down here and sell it for the same price. What I buy it for is what I sell it for.”
Although the profit factor for selling items so cheaply may be lower than other stores, and Ellis admitted that it takes a lot of work sorting and cleaning donated items, the owner of Ashlynn’s Attic sees a greater good coming out of her business.
“For probably around $20 to $25, a kid can have a wardrobe — a week’s wardrobe,” she said. “Plus, it’s all about helping the community, you know?”
A grand opening celebration for Ashlynn’s Attic will be held on Nov. 22. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 p.m., with juice and cupcakes available. Many items in the store will be offered at discounted rates during the grand opening celebration.
Ashlynn’s Attic is located at 108 S. Washing St. It is open Wednesdays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; on Saturdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and on Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ellis said she likes to have later business hours to give families time to come home from work and shop at the store.
Anyone wishing to contact Ellis to set up a donation can reach her at (814) 758-5989.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.