“We are like a co-op,” said owner Judy Hamrick. “We have new to gently used, antiques to primitives and even some great Amish foods.”
The store is different than most retailers in that is has close to 50 vendors, each setting up a pre-selected section of the store. Hamrick and her daughter Jessica Richard run the store and actually sell the items for the vendors and get a small fee for doing so.
Hamrick is not new to the business though. She actually has a successful location in North Jackson that houses more than 70 vendors, The success hasn’t always been that way though. Hamrick said it started from a desire to better herself.
“I worked in a doctor’s office for 17 years and was burning out,” she said. “I wanted to find something different to do.”
One of Hamrick’s passions was to visit flea markets and auctions. She bought items for herself and opened a small antique store in North Jackson 16 years ago. As her business grew, she teamed up with other vendors who took a section of display area and helped Hamrick pay the bills. The concept kept going.
“Before I knew it, the store consisted of 60 dealers,” she said.
When an auto parts store in the same plaza closed down, Hamrick saw an opportunity and went through the wall to incorporate that store and increase her business to 12,000 square feet, bring in 12 new vendors. For the past 13 years, the Wizard of Odds in North Jackson did well and the vendor list stayed strong.
“When I decided to expand again, before I got any older,” Hamrick said, “I found this great location here in Austintown."
The new location encompasses 6,000 square feet. Over October and November, Hamrick and her daughter and friends worked hard to get the store in shape with new carpet and fresh paint. They completed everything except the exterior sign that was awaiting approval by zoning.
They kept the Dec. 1 deadline though and the doors opened at 10 a.m. Right from the get-go, Hamrick saw dozens of people flock through the door to check out the huge variety of merchandise available at Wizard of Odds 2.
Hamrick said she will be running the new store herself, with the help of the vendors. She will also be keeping tabs on the original Wizard of Odds in North Jackson. Both locations are on Mahoning Avenue with the older one at 10966 Mahoning and the new one at 4761, just six miles apart. Hamrick also mentioned that both locations are handicapped accessible.
In the end, this single mom turned her passion into a thriving business and a goal that she has met.
“I just wanted to provide the Valley with clean, lovely items to add to their homes,” she said.
Photo By J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Jessica Richard, her mom and owner of Wizard of Odds 2, Judy Hamrick and close friend Julie Solomon were ready to greet customers last week following a ribbon cutting for Austintown’s newest store, next to Marc's on Mahoning Avenue.