GOULDSBORO — Don’t be surprised if you manage to walk away from Maine’s Choice Wholesale one day with a piece of furniture for as little as 10 cents.
While it certainly won’t happen every day, what co-owner Chris Crawley dubs “crazy sales” will be part of the marketing plan for the store, which opened in March at 759 South Gouldsboro Road in Gouldsboro.
The crazy sale idea involves hiding a coupon somewhere in the store. Whoever finds it can take home a single item for the stated price, which could be as little as a dime.
“I’m not going to do business like normal,” said Crawley, who runs the store with his wife, Marie. “I want it to be fun. I want it to be fast-paced.”
Crawley, who sells furniture and home décor at 50 to 70 percent off retail, said he believes there’s a need for affordable furnishings in the area.
Because their suppliers are always changing, the Crawleys are unable to special order merchandise. They can’t hold it either, due to space constraints.
“Our inventory changes all the time so … stop in and see what’s new,” he said.
When new inventory is due to come in, Crawley plans to drastically discount items on the floor to make room for new ones.
The Crawleys plan to open a second location in June at 59 Downeast Hwy. in Ellsworth. He hopes the concept will take off enough to allow the couple to open additional stores in Belfast, Machias and even Calais.
“Another reason we’re doing this is so Downeast Maine people can have a place to work,” he said.
The Crawleys are active in the community, running Lifeline Food Pantry out of the basement of the building in which the store is located. Crawley is also pastor of the Solid Rock Bible Baptist Church, which is located right across the street.
The Crawleys moved to Gouldsboro from Kentucky in 2011. Crawley works as an electrician at Wyman’s in Milbridge. Marie Crawley takes care of the goats and chickens, runs the store and food pantry, and home-schools their five children, Samuel, 15, Seth, 13, Nathan, 9, Josiah, 7, and Micah, 5.
The store is open from noon until 6 Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. More information is available on the store’s Facebook page.
The boys, especially the younger ones, are often in the store, and their presence helps make it clear the store is family-friendly, the couple said.
The Crawleys began contemplating the idea of opening a furniture store about five years ago, after acquiring the building and the church, a former Assembly of God whose attendance dwindled with the closing of the nearby military base. The Assembly of God was willing to give the property to the Crawleys on the condition that they continue running the food pantry.
The buildings were both in rough shape and preparing the old school to house the store began by removing moldy cardboard from the floors. They emptied out a lot of stuff that had been stored there, and did repairs. Last fall, the Crawleys “got serious” by researching and making sure they complied with local and state business laws. The church is open but still undergoing renovations as time and money permit.
Crawley said he believes God intends for him to make a positive difference in eastern Maine. The furniture store is God’s business but he is allowed to run it.
“It has been a huge blessing,” he said. “We have enjoyed every minute of it.”