Three young entrepreneurs from Burlington have grown their business to the extent they have purchased a former Port Dover furniture store as their second location.
Tyler Zeabin, Kal Curry, Dave Loft and a silent partner began One-Stop Discount Shop in 2019.
The basis of their operation is purchasing palettes of overstock and box-damaged items from big box retailers and selling those goods to the public at discounted prices.
“We do a lot of business with a few big box retailers,” said Zeabin. “We have goods from Walmart, Wayfair, The Shopping Channel, but our biggest one sells a lot of Kirkland products.”
Their enterprise had humble beginnings in 2019, setting up shop in a parent’s garage and listing their merchandise on online platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, E-bay, and Kijiji.
“Kal and I had an auto parts business, but we did pallet re-selling as a side hustle to make a bit more money,” Zeabin explained. “But we noticed it was so popular that we decided to divert more of our time into that business and it morphed from there.”
As the volume of sales grew, they developed their own website at onestopdiscountshop.ca and established a retail store on New Street in Burlington in early 2020.
“We were three days from opening (the Burlington store) when COVID hit,” added Curry. “We got locked down before we could even open the doors. It wasn’t the best time to start a business, but you can’t foresee that.”
Now three years later, they have just begun accepting orders from American customers.
“There’s a lot of stuff you don’t expect when selling internationally, such as tariffs and duty,” Zeabin admitted. “It’s been a learning curve, but we’re excited to help U.S. customers save some money too. We want to continue to grow the online brand.”
The owners estimate that about half of their retail sales is from walk-in customers.
“A lot of people like to come in and see the product for themselves, especially in a liquidation store,” he said. “If there’s cosmetic damage, people like to see that condition for themselves. But we test every item that comes in, to make sure it’s in good working condition before we sell it.”
Limited space at the Burlington store prompted the partners to begin looking for another retail location, before deciding to purchase the former Furniture Barn at 52 Hamilton Plank Road in Port Dover for “just north of a million.”
“We did some looking around and noticed there wasn’t a lot of big box retailers in that area,” Zeabin explained. “We figured there is a pretty good niche we could fill in that market. We also wanted to own our own building, and we found something pretty perfect and in our budget.”
Curry said that at 9,000-square-feet, the Port Dover location will become their main distribution centre.
The building is currently under renovation and will feature a front showroom for items such as housewares, home décor, bedding, electronics, and higher-end furniture. The rear of the facility will serve as a warehouse area for shipping and receiving.
Zeabin said that eventually they will sell full pallets of product.
“For example, $1,000 for a pallet of $2,000 of retail, so that other people can make a side income as we did when we were starting out,” he said. “If it worked for us, it can work for anyone if you have the time and energy to get those items posted online.”
Curry added that they hope to inspire young entrepreneurs to give it a shot.
“With the right support, work ethic and dedication, they can achieve success.”
The partners are aiming to have a soft opening by the end of November.