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House sale business opens second store

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The recession and the number of people leaving the Island have proved to be a double-edged sword for one house sale business.

The StockXchange, which was set up by entrepreneurs Dorothy Billings and Barbara Belton Brown four years ago, has opened a new shop the StockXShop this month for clients to sell their second-hand items.

During their time in business they have pretty much seen and done it all from selling $5 items to a $56,000 Bermuda cedar dining room table to kitting out one client’s pad at Belmont with the complete contents of a house sale after he had come in just looking for a director’s chair to put on his balcony.

Covering the whole Island from St George’s to Dockyard, Ms Billings and Ms Belton Brown have done some big house sales including at exclusive properties in Tucker’s Town.

Ms Belton Brown said that despite the outflux of guest workers returning home, many were taking their possessions with them, while Bermudians were downsizing and selling off their second properties due to a lack of rental demand as a result and also clearing out their clutter.

“A lot of the people who are leaving are doing so without any jobs to go back to so they are taking a lot of their items with them so they don’t have to start again,” she said.

“But on the flip side, there are a lot of Bermudians who have sold their bigger houses and are looking to move their items on.”

The pair found out about the availability of the space at the original site of Pembroke Tile & Stone and started moving in in July and have turned it into an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures from furniture such as couches, ottomans and writing tables to ornaments. Among some of the most interesting pieces are hot tubs and trampolines, and even a bar made out of basket weave in the form of a hot air balloon by trunk manufacturers the Stiles Brothers greeting customers at the entrance.

Local artist Monica Smith Jones also displays some of her pictures for sale throughout the shop.

The new location has a number of advantages including being close to town, having a favourable rent and good parking facilities and access.

Business has been steady since the duo started with a house sale almost every week but they decided to open their own shop for the smaller job lots they received.

“We decided to do this because it now gives our house sale clients an option to consign some of their items with us and for those who don’t have enough for a full house sale who might just want to change out a few items in their house,” said Ms Belton Brown.

“Most of the clients that we have had in here are locals and at the house sales they are mostly ex-pats.”

Ms Billings said that one of the business’ key selling points was its affordable prices set accordingly due to the economic constraints of the downturn on customers’ disposable incomes and a little leeway to negotiate on some of them.

The pair, who complement each other with their skills, have built up a solid reputation as two Bermudians who have been in the business long enough and know their clients well with people approaching them on the street asking for second hand items. They have even been mistaken for a stock exchange company with Ms Belton Brown receiving calls from punters looking for tips on the best shares to buy and sell.

“I’m probably the last person they would want offering advice on that front,” she joked.

“We have had some fabulous sales,” said Ms Belton Brown, whose 10-year-old son Kobe helps out at the shop as a security guard/cleaner/porter/cashier on Saturdays.

“We have sold everything from $5 items to a $56,000 Bermuda cedar dining room table and even a four poster cedar bed.

“Our clients range from people who have become bogged down by pieces of furniture that belonged to granny and they have held onto it for years for sentimental reasons but now want to move it on to those families with young kids who have different lifestyle requirements.”

Mostly items stay in the shop for up to 60 days before being moved on, with their price being reduced over time.

Clients are also able to donate items to charity with a number of pieces being sent to nursing homes.

The StockXShop is open on Saturday between 10am and 4pm and by appointment. All of the furniture items are listed on the website.

For more information contact 533-0149 or 335-6256, email info[AT]thestockx.com or visit the website at www.thestockx.com

Second store: StockXchange owners Dorothy Billings (left) and Barbara Belton-Brown (Photo by Tamell Simons)
Aladdin's Cave: StockXchange owners Dorothy Billings (left) and Barbara Belton-Brown (Photo by Tamell Simons)

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Published September 13, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated September 13, 2011 at 9:59 am)

House sale business opens second store

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