With the holiday season in full force, everyone is busy with the hustle and bustle as well as finding just the right gift(s) for our friends and loved ones. For those looking to shop and support local when finding that unique gift for that special someone, or maybe you’re looking for a piece of furniture or household item(s), The Elephants Tusk on Main Street in Millerton, NY, might be the spot you’ve been waiting for. Owner Maria Tamburrino boasts a great variety of inventory and is sure to have something for everyone, including Santa himself.
What is your business, when did you start it, and where can people find you?
I officially opened the doors to The Elephants Tusk in May of 2022 at my new location at 20 Main Street in Millerton, NY, right across from the iconic and popular Oakhurst Diner. My store is essentially a secondhand store (not a thriftstore) and I offer a little bit of everything from clothing and refurbished furniture to gift items, both new and used, and I also have numerous items from local artisans like jewelry.
How did the founding of The Elephant Tusk come about – where did the idea come from, is this your first store?
I have been buying and selling for years, and I love it. The location at 20 Main Street became available earlier this year, so I ran with it and opened an official storefront. But I’ve been doing this for years (buying and selling items and refurbishing furniture), and I had been doing it out of my home as well as a garage space I had for storing items.
When I ran this business out of my home I would only be open on weekends, but now I’m open five days a week. I’ve grown a reputation over the years and I have developed a very loyal following – my customers have been wonderful and so supportive. Since opening in May, I’ve loved seeing my customers come into my new space and I’ve also loved meeting new people.
Being on Main Street has been amazing, especially because of all of the great people I’ve been able to meet as a result. I can’t believe how many people live around here that I hadn’t met yet, especially considering that I’ve lived here for such a long time and I thought I had met a lot of people, but since opening in May, I’ve been floored to meet so many new people.
How has the business evolved and or changed since you started?
Since we opened earlier this year, we have much more inventory, and as a result we now offer a larger variety. Initially we had a lot of clothing, but now we have more variety including the furniture pieces that I refurbish as well as different types of new and old gift items some of which are made by local artisans.
Who is involved in the business? How did you decide to open a store like this?
I am the sole owner, but those closest to me are there to help when needed. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which is evident in the fact that I’ve been running my own businesses for over 30 years. I really enjoy the thrill of buying and selling as well as helping my customers find something unique.
What types of items do you have in the store – what’s your niche – what’s uniquely The Elephants Tusk?
We have a little bit of everything, new and gently used clothing for the whole family to clothing for your dog! We have refurbished furniture that I enjoy putting a modern rustic spin on, essentially giving these furniture pieces a second life. We have lots of housewares and so much more. I’m really open to anything, but our shop isn’t a consignment shop.
Something that is important to mention and helps set us apart is that our inventory will literally change daily! Sometimes items are gone as quickly as they arrived, but they are always replaced by another great item. To give an example, we had a beautiful chaise chair that was scooped up by a customer the same day it came in, which is obviously great, but the next day I had two people come in who wanted to buy it. I consider myself really fortunate that we have such a great turn-over of inventory, because this allows my customers to always have something fresh and exciting to choose from.
What can customers expect when they come to your store?
They can expect a variety with a fair price point, a clean atmosphere, and always a friendly face. I want my customers to feel welcome, to feel comfortable and ask questions, and that they can take their time and shop around – you really do need to take your time when browsing!
What makes your store unique and different from your competition?
I really strive to make things accessible and affordable for everyone in the community and surrounding areas. And the fact that our inventory will change daily is also something that I feel is important and unique.
Do you have anything special for the holidays?
Yes!! Santa will be visiting the store on December 10, from 1:30–3:30pm. We also have lots of great sales and ALL furniture will be 20% off throughout the month of December.
As for our more specific holiday inventory, we have some great holiday gift items. A craftswoman out of Limerock created beautiful earrings and other jewelry pieces that arrived in the store in late November. Another craftswoman brought us a variety of crocheted items as well as soaps and candles – just to mention a few items.
Where do you get your products and/or inventory?
I utilize social media to advertise for bulk buying, I do after tag sale buyouts, clean outs, and love when people donate! I’ve also been networking a lot more with local artists and artisans.
How does technology play a factor in your brick and mortar business?
I use Facebook as a platform to reach out to those that are local and not local. I am also in the process of expanding to Instagram.
What have been some of the challenges that you’ve found and or faced in your business?
I have built a lot of momentum, and I’m grateful that business has been steady. I do worry with winter being just around the corner, but I’m hoping that business will continue to be profitable.
What’s on the horizon going forward?
I’m always looking at how I can grow. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people and we’re always expanding our inventory. I’m excited to be a part of such a wonderful business community that is supportive, and I’m excited to see what the town has to offer. I welcome everyone to come in and see what we have, whether they purchase something or not.
What advice would you have for someone looking to start their own business?
Just do it! Act now, think later!
To learn more about The Elephant Tusk, you can visit them at 20 Main Street in Millerton, NY. Call then at (518) 592-1046, or find them on Facebook.