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Al Key/DRC
Camelia and David Lincoln, owners of Lincoln Mini-Mall, in their business Wednesday in Denton.

Gainesville couple open Denton store to expand their Internet business

With rows of designer purses, flip-flops, jeans and car toys, a Gainesville couple decided to expand their online business and open a mini mall on the northwest side of Denton.

David and Camelia Lincoln opened the Lincoln Mini-Mall a week ago at the old Girl Scouts Service Center, 4000 W. University Drive just west of Interstate 35.

They began making updates to the 3,747-square-foot, one-story log cabin-style building in early September with the goal of creating a storefront fit for their 8-year-old online businesses called Motorcycles4kids.com via ebay. A second store, PrettyPurses.net, was also created to sell name-brand styles and accessories.

“It is kind of strange,” David Lincoln said. “Usually it works the other way around. We started the online business first, and our online business got so busy that we felt we needed a store.”

Camelia Lincoln said that for many years, people would visit her home to see what items she had for sale.

“I had all these people coming through my house to get flip-flops and jeans, and then we didn’t want to do that anymore,” she said.

The result is updating the building and turning it into a fit business. The mini mall has four sections — one for pursues, one for electric power motorcycles for children, a National Football League-themed area and space set aside for rhinestone jeans, T-shirts and flip-flops.

David was a regional manager for a sporting goods store for nine years, and it was there he learned about marketing. His wife has worked in public relations and has a degree in bilingual education. They decided to combine their knowledge and are now putting their efforts to ensure their storefront business takes off.

“What we don’t see on the Internet, we will bring here,” David said.

To acquire the items, David said he often watches places that are closing or going out of business. He said he has one-of-kind remote-control toys, electric-powered motorcycles and cars to attract hobbyists. Because other locations change models or replace them, he said that is not a reason to discard them.

“It [the item] is something that people still want but that the store is replacing for another model,” David said.

The couple is unsure of how many items they have, but between their home and a warehouse, it was enough to be able to start their storefront. He said Lincoln Mini-Mall will also introduce new items each week, because in their experience, they sell fast.

Marsha Atcheson, a business loan director at a bank, said she met Camelia while she was garage selling. She stopped at the Lincoln home and since then has stopped by often to shop.

“I have taken my daughter there to go shopping.” Atcheson said. “She will have food and open up her living room and dining room, and we would visit.”

Atcheson said she owns shoes, jewelry, flip-flops and Coach-brand handbags, all bought through Camelia.

“She has a wide assortment of items and guarantees everything,” she said.

Roanoke resident Amy Crump, a marketing director for a restaurant chain in the area, said she went to the Lincoln Mini-Mall grand opening Sept. 15.

“It is a good environment to go shopping and get awesome things for a good price,” Crump said. “I got two shirts and wristband for my daughter.”

Crump, a friend of the Lincolns for the past six years, said she was excited to see her friends build a continuation of their business by opening a store.

“Dave and Camelia have the heart of gold, and they give back to the community,” Crump said.

David is also a senior pastor at a Gainesville church, and, with the help of his wife, they have given proceeds of the items they sell online and those they will sell at the store to his church and other charitable causes.

“The whole purpose behind this [business] is so that I can support my family and support the ministry so that I am not a burden to the community,” David said. “We do that in Gainesville, and I don’t know, at some point we may move the ministry to Denton.”

David created his own brand of Christian apparel, which he has already trademarked, according to the website trademarks.justia.com.

“It is a small store, but basically [it] is called Everyday I’m Worshipping,” David said. “When I sell the product, part of it goes to our community outreach, to Africa … to our mission work, so it is a product with purpose.”

Camelia said the business is an extension of their ministry and something they want to leave for their two daughters.

In the future, Camelia said they want to continue to extend their retail offers and provide more for their customers, like adding plus-size items. She also wants to add workshop opportunities and bring that to the mall.

In the meantime, Camelia said the focus is to let others know they are in town, and open for business; and to interact with future visitors and with those via the social networking site Facebook by offering mini-mall incentives and specials.

“And I have also been doing a lot of networking,” Camelia said.

Karina Ramírez can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is kramirez@dentonrc.com.

 

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Lincoln Mini-Mall

 


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