New Business in Ely, Iowa

The Downtown Dachshund

By Deborah Neyens, correspondent Jul 5, 2016 at 9:16 am | ELY — Tom and Melissa Reed call themselves serial entrepreneurs. Capitalizing on the knowledge gained from one successful business venture, the Reeds recently launched The Downtown Dachshund, a gift shop and boutique in Ely that is named after the family pet. The Reeds are using their new store to showcase the work of other entrepreneurs. Ground Floor: Ely business owners show dogged determination Protect Your New Business File Your Trademark Application. A Trademark Protects Your Brand Downtown Dachshund in Ely is shown on Thursday, January 30, 2016. The shop opened in May and features products by small vendors who owners Tom and Melissa Reed have met at trade shows while marketing their own product, Packable Pails. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette) 7/5/2016 Ground Floor: Ely business owners show dogged determination | The Gazette­floor­ely­business­owners­show­dogged­determination­20160705 2/4 “We carry a lot of merchandise from younger companies that we don’t see in other stores, especially stores in Iowa,” Tom said. Among the items carried are the Reeds’ own invention, Packable Pails, collapsible sand pails that have been featured on the Today Show and in O, The Oprah Magazine. Melissa came up with the idea for Packable Pails in 2014 after a family beach vacation. She took the lead on product development and marketing, while Tom handled product management and logistics. Their business took them to different trade shows. “We met so many other small companies like us that were making so many different, cool products,” Melissa said. “It made me really want to open a boutique.” By the spring of 2016, the Packable Pails business had grown so big that the Reeds could no longer handle distribution of the pails from their home. They decided to outsource that function to another company, which freed up their time to pursue Melissa’s dream of opening a store. Around the same time, they learned that a 1,000 ­square­ foot retail space in downtown Ely was available for lease. “Since we live in Ely, we wanted to keep the store in Ely,” Tom said. “There is a lot of good energy here right now, and one of our goals is to see Ely take off.” Once the lease was signed, things moved quickly, thanks to Melissa’s organizational skills and Tom’s sweat equity. “I put together a timeline that everyone thought would be impossible to meet,” she said. “We decided Easter weekend to open the store, and we opened on May 5.” In addition to the couple’s own Packable Pails, The Downtown Dachshund carries clothing, accessories, housewares and gift items. Some of the more unique offerings include bracelets made from old fire hoses by off­duty firefighters and bracelets made from broken guitar strings by a bluegrass musician. “We are buying small amounts from small companies,” Melissa said. “If you see it and like it, you better buy it or it may be gone.” “We seek out unique things to keep it fresh and add new items weekly,” Tom added. The store hosts weekly “sip ’n shop” events on Thursday evenings where customers can see the new merchandise and sample wine or craft beers. Consistent with their entrepreneurial spirit, the Reeds have big plans for their new retail business. “My dream is that someday we have online purchases from all over the United States,” Melissa said.

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