Located in the building best known as the former Varsity Lanes bowling alley, Rob and Kristy Klein have opened BoxDrop Milton, 450 S. John Paul Road. The store has been in full swing since July after the couple moved its merchandise from a former location in Janesville.
The couple operates another location in Elkhorn, which is also where they live.
After making the move from Janesville to Milton, the couple changed its business model to include regular store hours. Before the move, the company worked with customers through appointment, Rob said.
While the move was driven by a need for more space, the inviting and friendly feel of the community also helped make the decision, Kristy said.
“The appeal of this community is what locked us in. The community is amazing. So many people welcomed us when we first came. They stopped in to say hi and asked us questions. It was very humbling. If we ever moved from Elkhorn, we’d come here, hands down,” Kristy said.
Finding their niche
A need for work that could accommodate the demands of a growing family, and luck, led the couple into the overstock mattress and furniture business, Kristy said.
A 1996 graduate of Big Foot High School, Rob was raised in Walworth. Kristy was raised in Illinois, but her family vacationed in Lake Geneva, and moved there when she was 8. She is a 2000 graduate of Elkhorn High School, she said.
Rob and Kristy formed a friendship while they were both working at a Burger King in Delavan. The couple married in 2006. Rob came to the marriage with three children, and later, the blended family grew by three more. Today, the six children range in age between 5 and 21.
A blind ad caught Kristy’s eye, she said, which led to a position in sales. At the time, a fourth child was an infant, and Kristy took the job because the child could come to work with her, she said. Soon after, Rob joined her in sales, and by 2008, the couple began their own business selling overstocked mattresses and furniture through warehouses. At the time, the concept was new, Kristy said. After learning the ropes, they went out on their own, opening warehouses in Delavan, Milwaukee, and Kenosha.
“The business lasted until 2011 and then the recession took us out,” Kristy said.
With five kids to care for, the couple found new opportunities: Rob went to work for Generac Power Systems in Whitewater as a material flow specialist, and Kristy went to nursing school, after which she became a wound care nurse at Lakeland Health Care Center, Elkhorn.
In 2014, Kristy gave birth to the family’s sixth child, but health complications followed.
Rob missed being an entrepreneur, he said, and that’s when contacts from the overstock industry reached out.
A niche reborn
The timing was right, Kristy said, and in September of 2016, the couple opened BoxDrop Elkhorn, including a 5,000-square-foot showroom, 23 E. Walworth St., and a 9,000-square-foot warehouse also in Elkhorn.
“We deal with wholesale and closeout overstock. The merchandise comes in truckloads. When it’s gone, it’s gone,” Kristy said.
Comparing the Milton and Elkhorn locations, Rob said: “If a customer went to both locations, they might find different products, but they would be of equal value.”
The couple works with over 70 manufacturers and offers bedroom, living room and dining room furniture, and mattresses of all sizes as well as adjustable bases, Kristy said.
“We are a family owned and operated business. Our oldest three children all work with us and so does our daughter’s fiancé,” Kristy said.
According to Kristy, the Janesville location was created to supply what was emerging as a customer-driven need. In Janesville, she said, many rely on public services like the bus.
“We were finding that we had a customer base in Janesville that wanted to come to us in Elkhorn, but they didn’t have transportation,” she said.
Word-of-mouth and referrals helped develop the base. To meet that demand, in 2017, the couple opened a 5,500-square-foot showroom and warehouse space at 1824 Lafayette St. That facility closed in July when the company made the move to Milton.
In Milton, Rob said, the combined warehouse and showroom space offers 14,000 square feet.
“The company is licensed through Retail Service System. We have a contract with them to operate as a BoxDrop. The contract gives us the right to use the name and liquidate the merchandise,” Kristy said.
“We are picky, and so is Retail Service Systems. They have good quality control. What I like to tell people is we have six children, and every piece of furniture in our house is something we sell, so we know it’s durable,” Kristy said.
“All sales are final here, there are no sleep guarantees,” Rob said.
“We have something for everybody. We have products for people who are looking for something as a starting point to top grain leather,” Kristy said.
“Anybody can come in here, no matter what walk of life, and get something nice,” she said.
With the new business model, appointments are no longer required, Rob said. Both BoxDrop locations are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The stores are closed on Wednesdays.
The store offers a full spectrum of prices, Kristy said, adding: “Queen size mattresses are the most popular. A first time purchase can run as little as $145 for both the box spring and mattress, to a top end set that might cost at full retail $5,000. Here you could find it for $1,800.”
Sofas and love seats are also popular. “Sets range from $550 to those that might sell at full retail for $4,799 and here you can buy it for $2,600, Rob said.
Said Kristy: “We love this industry because we are able to help people. People come in as strangers and leave as our friends. Everyone here is looking to help people find products that bring something new into their lives, and people are not pressed by a salesperson. We are not trying to sell them something; we are trying to find what they want.
“We like to give somebody an opportunity to purchase something nice that might have been out of their reach.”
To learn more about the Milton location, visit Facebook: BoxDrop Milton/Janesville Mattress and Furniture Direct.