What started as a home based business in Hawaii has turned into The OutPost Texas, a gift store in Copperas Cove.
The biggest misconception is that it’s a western store, said owner Jackie Duncan.
Located at 2210 E. U.S. Highway 190, Suite 7, OutPost Texas sells a myriad of gifts mostly made by vendors throughout the state.
“With the name and the sign, people think (western) is what the store is,” she said. “While I do carry some western goods, that is not the focus. The name comes from my home based business back in Hawaii. In Hawaii, it was called The OutPost, so when we came here I added Texas to the name.”
The store originally sprang from Duncan’s time in Korea. She volunteered at a gift store on an Army post called the Apple Tree and purchased their sales merchandise.
“That was really where everything took off,” Duncan said. “When I was there I was an advisor for what they should sell, and I got to shop for them. I love to shop, and that was what gave me the idea to run my own store.”
Duncan and her husband, George, lived in Copperas Cove while he was active duty military and moved back to the city during his final year so they could retire in the area. That is when she decided to purchase a store front.
“Copperas Cove feels like your American hometown,” Duncan said. “There’s a great sense of community, and that is where we wanted to live.”
Selling a variety of items, from signs and candles to lamps and table settings, and ensuring her store offers plenty of locally produced products, are some of the reasons Duncan believes her shop is successful.
She prides herself on maintaining unique stock and rarely carries the same thing twice. She keeps the inventory revolving on a month to month basis.
“I have a small clientele built up of repeat customers, and I like them to come in and see so many different things,” she said. “If you’re looking for everyday products, you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for something unique, then this is where you want to go.”
But she also makes sure she stocks the store’s best sellers — hand-painted signs, crafted by a few different local artisans.
“The sign that sells the best is one that says ‘Welcome to Awesomeville, population me,’” she said.
Networking also has been important to her success. She joined a group of Copperas Cove small business owners and credited her peers for the shop’s early success.
“Sometimes in a large city you can feel lost,” Duncan said. “Not like you need directions, but a feeling of being lost, But here, the other businesses care and want you to succeed. You don’t feel like you’re out on your own.”