Karen’s Upscale Resale and S&S Upholstery

When Larry Schwartz moved to Evansville several years ago, word got out that he had a sought-after skill – reupholstering furniture. With few people in town doing this kind of work, Larry started a side gig called S&S Upholstery. Though he maintained his full-time job, he found himself working more and more hours in the shop behind his house, and the upholstery business grew.

At that time, he was a frequent customer of Karen’s Upscale Resale furniture consignment store, and Larry was approached in the summer of 2022 to see if he had any interest in buying the shop. Though Larry had never dreamed of doing something like this, the purchase made sense – customers could purchase quality, well-made furniture at Karen’s and utilize his upholstery services to create an updated look. Larry sought out advice from friends, researched his options, and contacted the local German American Bank. His contacts at the bank suggested he call the Southwest Indiana SBDC, and he started working with his business advisor, Julie Folz, in July 2022. Larry needed help creating a solid business plan and understanding his financial situation to apply for an SBA loan. Through the help of his advisor, Larry was able to finalize the purchase in the fall of 2022, quit his job, and transition into a full-time small business owner.

This was a high risk move that Larry says he couldn’t have done without the help he received. “Julie was so kind and so sweet and ran the numbers for me, suggesting what I should do. She gave me plenty of leads to be able to get the loan and make it nice. It would have been a lot harder without the help from the SBDC and German American.” Julie has continued to help Larry throughout his business journey. “She is a wonderful person. She is always sending us resources to help the business,” he says.

A couple weeks ago, Larry moved his shop to a new, larger location at The Exchange in Evansville. The Exchange is home to several other retail businesses, including a metal works shop, antique shops, and a gift store. In just two weeks, Larry has already seen increased traffic to his store.

With business looking up, Larry is looking forward to paying off his loan faster than expected and moving his upholstery business into the new building later this year. He currently has 3 employees at Karen’s and 2 contractors for his upholstery business but believes he may be able to hire an additional employee soon. Larry credits his success to the business education he received at Ivy Tech, the help of many friends, his advisor, and his wonderful employees and customers. He invites you to check out Karen’s Upscale Resale on Facebook and visit the shops at The Exchange to learn more.

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