By Joy Campbell
Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.
Vicki Wiederkehr, at the age of 46, is an author, teacher and entrepreneur who has created a business model that has worked for her.
She founded Cardinal Selling Services in early 2006, and the asset sales and marketing company located in Ferdinand, Indiana, has taken off. So much so, that she launched a franchise offering last year. And she’s actively seeking a franchisee for Owensboro.
Wiederkehr, who earned a business administration degree in 1994 from Brescia University, said Friday that she has sold a number of items from the Owensboro area.
“I would love to find some investment-minded person for an Owensboro franchise,” she said. “As a matter of fact, we already have someone who would be a sales person and help the franchisee.”
Wiederkehr said her company uses her own “trade secrets” and processes she developed to help companies sell their assets. And new franchisees also will learn how to do that.
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On Friday, her company was selling 60 sets of cubicle office furniture for Kimball.
Wiederkehr developed the initial idea for her sales and marketing company when she still owned a convenience store in St. Meinrad, Indiana.
“This couple said they really needed to sell a car, but they didn’t know how to go about it,” she said. “It was a classic car. I told them that I knew how to sell on eBay, and I could help them.”
She sold the couple’s car to a buyer in Boston, and from that experience Cardinal Selling Services was born.
Since then, she has sold a number of classic cars, but that’s just one of the company’s niches.
“We sold a mobile fish museum in Rineyville, Kentucky,” Wiederkehr said. “He wanted to get $6,000, and I sold it for $26,000. I wish I had written that deal a little differently.”
While Cardinal sells a lot of inventory for businesses, it also sells for individuals who have items of $100 value or more.
“For that portion of the business model, we’re like an eBay store on steroids,” Wiederkehr said.
The company also will send someone to the client if necessary. The promotional support includes an evaluation of the assets; photography and advertising; selection of the appropriate websites for promotion; and shipping. The company also will determine if the assets should be removed from the owner’s property.
From that first classic car sale, the business has completed thousands of transactions, according to the website, www.cardinalsellingservices.com. The company has sold airplanes, RVs, furniture, jewelry, and entire business inventories.
In addition to “really cool cars,” Wiederkehr has sold a “half-million dollar farm for an Amish family” as well as vault doors and lock boxes from old banks.
“We found that companies often need an avenue to help them move assets,” she said.” Typically, when he get a customer it’s a longterm relationship. We find dealers to make the buy.”
In addition to her growing business, she has written two books on entrepreneurship and has taught at Vincennes University.
The business territory has grown as well as the inventory.
“We decided to franchise because we think this is a needed business in every community,” Wiederkehr said.
The franchise could work for a lone investor or for a group, she said.
The initial franchise fee for one office is $19,500 which would cover a city such as Owensboro. To include the entire county, the franchise cost is $39,500. Investors also would incur other costs to get the business set up and operating.
“We coach them on start-up costs; they could start with a small office and warehouse and grow,” she said.
Cardinal Selling Services’ educators will teach franchisees how to make the model work, Wiederkehr said.