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After successfully completing her franchise’s 23rd sale, Rhea Lana of Mountain Home franchise owner Carrie Ramsey is hard at work preparing for this summer’s second big sale.
Rhea Lana’s is expected to host its second consignment sale at the Baxter County Fairgrounds from July 31 through Aug. 6.
“When I started the franchise, our first sale was in March of 2011,” said Carrie Ramsey. “God takes good care. We’ve survived tornado warnings. We’ve survived power outages. We’ve survived COVID.”
Founded out of the living room of Rhea Lana’s Conway home in 1997, Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment has grown into a nationwide company with over 100 franchises in 24 states.
Initially starting with the help of 11 friends, Lana and her husband, Dave Lana, were ahead of their time in 1997, developing computer software to allow people to generate barcodes for their items while entering them online.
Within a few years, the business completely overwhelmed Lana’s home, prompting her and her friends to expand to new and better locations.
“It was an invite-only when she first got started in her living room,” Ramsey said. “She started with 11 friends, and they all brought their things and kind of split it around, and it just grew from there.”
In Oct. 2010, while living in Conway, Arkansas, Ramsey reached out to Rhea Lana about purchasing the franchise following the birth of her son, Hunter Ramsey.
Ramsey said she had become a true believer in the franchise after she began shopping at Rhea Lana’s and knew the franchise would flourish in her hometown of Mountain Home. Her first sale was held in March 2011.
Focusing on selling everything from clothing, baby equipment, and toys, the franchise took off, becoming one of the region’s biggest sale events throughout the year.
“I started asking Rhea Lana to let me purchase the franchise not long after I started shopping,” Ramsey said. “She eventually said yes. Hunter was a newborn when I bought the franchise in Oct. 2010. And we were finally able to move back because I was born and raised here, and Wes moved here when he was in the sixth grade. Our goal was to get back here.”
And the family made it back in the best way possible.
This year’s first sale helped over 425 families sell over 73,000 items worth of goods while putting over 100 employees to work.
The sale offered Mountain Home residents the opportunity to purchase spring-related goods like children’s clothing, playpens, baby strollers, toys, and more for a 30-40% cost reduction over retail prices.
Ramsey’s July and August sale is in the process of being prepped, with a focus on selling goods for the upcoming winter season.
“It’s a full-time job that’s kind of crammed into six months,” Ramsey said. “It’s all we eat, sleep, and breathe for about two months before the sale, and then it takes a month or so to wrap it up.”
Ramsey said purchasing the franchise has been a life-changing experience that has brought her family closer together through the hard work on the business.
Both of her sons, Hunter and Stone, regularly help with each consignment sale, a tradition that Lana says has instilled them with a strong work ethic. The franchise has also allowed both boys to spend more time with their father and grandfather, who help with the heavy lifting during the sales.
“Hunter is just now getting old enough to step into being helpful,” Ramsey said. “COVID allowed him to step in and learn how to help because my dad helped me get it started. They kind of helped me buy it to bring us home because of the boys, and as he gets older, and my dad gets older, it’s fun watching him to be able to step in.”
While Rhea Lana is preparing for its next big sale in Mountain Home, Ramsey is beginning to focus on the upcoming school board race after announcing her run for Mountain Home School Board, Position 4.
Ramsey spends much of her time in the off-season being active in the community, particularly within the MHPS system, and has spent considerable time volunteering at several schools in the district while serving multiple terms as a volunteer coordinator.
She is also a substitute teacher and has held a number of roles in the Mountain Home Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Both of her children are students in the Mountain Home School District.
She said she would like to see Mountain Home High School incorporate 9th graders into its campus in the future. The discussion over converting the high school into a 9-12 school began this year after the district proposed a remodel of the high school’s aging campus.
Ramsey is running against Barbara Horton, a long-serving and popular member of the Mountain Home School Board, who has been serving since 2014. Horton is a retired schoolteacher and served the district for 27 years before retiring.
All five of Horton’s children have graduated from the school district.
“I just want to be a good ear for the teachers,” Ramsey said. “Because I feel like the more support that teachers have and the more they feel valued, the better it is for the kids.”