By Dennis Seid
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Lisa Hawkins didn’t intend to get in the furniture business, although she already had retail experience. The nurse-turned-entrepreneur had the Velveteen Rabbit, a clothing store, for 12 years. Then, after helping with a going-out-of-business sale for what was then Hancock Furniture, she got the itch to open a furniture store.
Her deep faith and her nursing background are key reasons why Lisa Hawkins has such a big heart for others, but it also is her entrepreneurial spirit that has helped grow her business.
And in doing so, Room to Room — which marks its 15th anniversary this year — has become more than a furniture store.
“I never really did think about it growing like this,” she said. “Really, my first thought about this was what kind of ministry can I make out of this furniture store?
“Being a nurse and being involved in people’s lives is the same thing. I got my training in nursing because it’s a people business. It’s the same thing here — it’s a people business. People come in here with hurts and concerns, too.”
Room to Room covers 100,000- square-feet with furniture for every room in a house, plus accessories, home decor and rugs.
Shoppers might be first-time homebuyers looking to fill the house of their dreams. They might be homeowners looking to renovate and replace their older furniture. Or it could be a family that lost everything in a tornado or fire.
“The tornado in 2014… we went through helping families during tough situations,” Hawkins said. “We’ve helped families who went through a suicide. It’s hurts like that that you never really think about, that a furniture store really being a ministry.”
Hawkins’ generosity extends beyond the store, going deep into the community. Her work with Sanctuary Hospice is unparalleled. Her volunteer efforts are immeasurable.