At The Trove, Collaboration Is Key

By Cathy Shouse
The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.).

The Trove store in Roanoke is proof that great minds really do think alike — five great minds, in this case.

Co-owned by Kate Tomkinson, Melani Wilson, Leslie Ferguson, Mark Losher and Kim Fenoglio, the Trove’s tagline is “a store of delightful things.”

With the many well-known feuds among entrepreneurs (think Steve Jobs getting ousted from Apple), the Trove’s relaxed, collaborative style is getting noticed since it opened in November 2013. And the co-owners’ enthusiasm is evident when they talk about their endeavor.

“I believe we do have a fun and unique story,” Wilson said. “In fact, I recently attended NY Now, a trade show, and when I explained our concept to one of our vendors she said, ‘You should lecture about how to put that together.’ I was flattered, but I do think our structure is unique and has many benefits that typical retail establishments do not. Also, we have a ton of fun!”

Having so many hands stirring the retail pot adds depth to the customer experience on multiple levels. Items in the store are hand picked, chosen from the viewpoint of several perspectives. Plus, just entering the store on can be an adventure, since there’s no set schedule for which owner will be there. They split up the duties and work different shifts, covering for one another when someone is on a buying jaunt or has other commitments.

How do they keep their schedules straight? Wilson said, “Lots of texting and emails, and we’d be lost without the Google calendar!”

She attempted to sum up the mix of personalities and backgrounds that form their differences — and their similarities.

“We are all coming from another career field — from landscape design/management to real estate,” Wilson said. “We are around the same age — mid-40s to mid-50s. Both sides of my family are from Roanoke, and I spent many days of my childhood bellied up to the soda fountain at my grandpa’s drugstore, which is now the North End.”

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