Business: Always Be Inspired, Thrift Store & Unique Boutique

Location: 227 Philadelphia Ave., Egg Harbor City

Owner: Liz Hackney, 30, of Egg Harbor City

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Employees: Owner operated

Phone: 609-965-8180

I consigned my clothing and made jewelry here with the former owner of this location. She inspired me to open my own store and taught me a lot of the ropes.

I was saving to open my own store and she said she was struggling to stay open. She knew I didn't have the money yet, so we worked together for a few months to make the transition from a consignment to a thrift store.

Since then, I've brought in some handmade jewelry and some up-cycled items. She was primarily women's clothing, so I brought in men's and children's clothing, some furniture and decor, collectibles and vintage things.

The big project now is starting a flea market in the side yard. We'll have some vendors here, starting on Saturdays and Sundays. I'm going to try to do every weekend. If it does well and I get a good response, I'll try to extend it to Friday and Thursday.

There's a microbrewery going in behind here, from the owner of Tap It, and that should help me out a lot.

Right now I have a big prom display because that's coming up. I'm also setting up my summer stuff, and have items for newborns, for girls, men and women, plus sizes, vintage and lots of accessories such as purses and belts.

Fun antiques include a lot of blue glass, which gets a big response, and artwork such as vintage prints and collectible tea tins. I also sell a lot of books.

We have a lot of little kid's dress-up clothes, such as tiaras, tutus and fairy wings. They get dressed up and have their photo taken. It's adorable.

Entry: I'm a bartender at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. I've been there for 11 years. I've always wanted to open my own store. It runs in my family.

The future: I would love to expand into the upstairs, once I start making a profit. Perhaps a second-hand evening and bridal wear shop, but who knows what it will be when I get there.

Business editor Kevin Post


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