Corey Gillum, owner and founder of Painted Tree, has a background in business ownership, marketing, and sales. Corey comes from a family of entrepreneurs who have always valued offering a good product and a reasonable price. After college, Corey worked in sales and marketing before opening his own photography studio at age 28. This business became a success with Corey’s knowledge in marketing and sales, as well as a background in photography. His parents had previously owned a photography studio of their own.
In 2008, Corey sold his business and started a career in buskins brokerage by opening his own company – Business Brokerage of Arkansas. After selling more than fifty companies in the Central Arkansas market, Corey joined his current business partner, Mike Cavallo in starting Painted Tree. This business started as a fun side business to the brokerage company, and was an exciting new opportunity for Corey and Mike to start a company which gave other entrepreneurs a chance to thrive by combining forces under one roof by sharing costs and customers. The first location, started near Little Rock, AR., was an instant success. Painted Tree quickly expanded to the DFW market in 2016. After a third location was opened, Corey committed to full time with Painted Tree and closed the brokerage company.
Corey and Mike have combined skills to lead Painted Tree in rapid growth. Corey attributes much of their success to business decisions made to “do the right thing”, not to just make money. Painted Tree has always done what’s best for the vendors as a whole, and is willing to lose money if necessary in order to do the right thing. The company trains it’s 500 employees to always “Treat everyone like your Grandma.” And alway “Do the right thing by putting people ahead of policy.”
Corey believes Painted Tree can grow to over 200 locations in the next five years, with the staff and vision in place to make it happen. “I love what I do. I love working with the vendors and staff. Every day in business is a blessing I am thankful for. I know I was given this opportunity because of parents who did everything they could to give me the education, skills, and overall background needed to achieve success as an entrepreneur.”
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
Painted Tree was a vision created by Corey Gillum and Mike Cavallo. The goal was to create a thriving market place where entrepreneurs could come together to sell upscale goods.
How do you make money?
Painted Tree rents space to shop owners who sell products.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
About a year.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
We knew early on Painted Tree would be a success.
How did you get your first customer?
I personally contacted potential shop owners who had a similar vision of offering high quality products in an upscale market.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Social media has been highly effective for us.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The hardest part of being a boss has always been having to let an employee go when its necessary.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think I am fortunate to have strong decision making skills, people skills, and the ability to see “the big picture”.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Having the good fortune to work daily with my grown children in our business.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I look forward to seeing how far we can take Painted Tree – new locations, employees, shoppers, etc. It’s a vision that has driven us since day one.
What business books have inspired you?
The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Software like Monday.com to stay organized as a company