Ben & Stephanie’s Story

Ben & Stephanie’s Story

It was a little over 5 years ago that the Ankeny Stuff Etc opened its doors to the public for the very first time. However, for owners Stephanie and Ben Potts, their journey as Stuff Etc franchise owners started long before that.

Growing up in Eastern Iowa, Stephanie had shopped at Stuff Etc for most of her life. She became a Stuff Etc 

consignor in high school, and continued to consign with Stuff into college, where she introduced her then-boyfriend Ben to the process.

“Ben saw the potential right away,” she recalls. “He eventually caught the attention of Mary [Sundblad], and soon we were discussing the possibility of owning our own Stuff.”

Once the decision was made to become franchise owners, Stephanie and Ben worked closely with Mary and the franchise team.

“Stuff Etc makes it easy to open your own Stuff Etc. They have an established routine that they follow, which is very helpful. You receive a lot of assistance from corporate; they come in, take you step by step through the process, and even do training at your store. In addition, the corporate team helps hire and train your managers, and they are always there if you have a question.”

When the Ankeny Stuff Etc opened in August of 2013, Stephanie and Ben still weren’t sure what to expect. What they got, however, was more growth and success than they imagined!

“It was very memorable, opening our own store. And then there was growth we had in the first few years of the store. It far exceeded the progress expected in the first 5 years.”

Since then, Stephanie and Ben have continued building on the success of those first few years. Of course, as with any business owner, they have challenges to overcome as well.

“The biggest challenge as a business owner is keeping employees. Employee turnover and training takes up a lot of our time.”

Still, Stephanie and Ben are confident in their store and their employees. In regard to becoming a Stuff Etc franchise owner, their advice is this: “Always keep an open mind. Business is always changing and ideas are always flowing in from the other 7 stores.”

As first time business owners, Stephanie and Ben have learned a lot in the last few years about what works for them as owners, their store and their employees. And they look forward to what the future will bring.

“There’s a lot of potential in the business. That’s our favorite part about owning a Stuff Etc franchise – the security and potential for growth.”

Having just celebrated the Ankeny Stuff Etc’s 5th anniversary, there’s still a lot of potential growth for Stephanie and Ben to be excited about. And when asked if they would do it all over again? The answer was one simple word.



Want to learn more about becoming a Stuff Etc franchise owner? Submit a franchise inquiry today!

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