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About Real Deals

s the southern textile industry was disappearing, Stan and Robin Atkins purchased an old cotton mill in the small town of Jefferson in North Georgia. In 1998, they started selling great-looking low-cost home furnishings out of the 1 1/2 acre second floor where the corduroy finishing plant had been. Because of the low overhead of the mill, they could stack it deep and sell it cheap. By 2001, Jeff and Marisa Humphrey had discovered the mill and were some of its greatest fans. They shopped there frequently and Marisa always brought out-of-town guests (mainly any of her four sisters) to shop the mill. They'd fill up largest possible shippable boxes and mail it back to their homes. After the Humphreys had frequent visits with Stan while shopping, he saw their enthusiasm for the mill said, You're in the wrong business! In early 2003, the Humphreys renovated the bottom floor of the mill and started a new business concept, Real Deals on Furniture, a 2-acre showroom of discount designer furniture and home decor. It was an instant success. A Franchise is Unknowingly Born Meanwhile, Marisa's little sister Carie Kelsey and her husband Nate, who had just finished graduate school, we're just getting started in Twin Falls, Idaho. Knowing the Kelsey's were broke after school, Marisa told Carie she was ordering her $10,000 of home décor goods...and she better find a place to sell them. In December 2003, Carie and Nate opened the first Real Deals store in Twin Falls, Idaho. They literally started upstairs in three small office rooms of an old creamery in a less-desirable part of town. These 400 square feet were all they needed to get the ball rolling. They opened one day a week and pulled décor out in the hallway for more space. After almost a year, they moved to the first floor of the creamery into 4,200 square feet and began opening on Saturdays as well. Things really took off then. Marisa and Carie's oldest sister Karmelle soon opened mini-co-op stor