What started as a hobby flipping old furniture for friends has turned into a way to provide extra income for Andrea Hoffman to support her 23-year-old daughter with autism.
Hoffman, a Yacolt resident of about 25 years, created her business Furniture on Fifth about three years ago. She sells a variety of refurbished furniture and decor out of her garage.
She said working from home allows her to properly care for her daughter, Nikki, who is on the autism spectrum and cannot be left unattended.
Even during the darker days of parenting, Hoffman could go to her customers for support, who she also considers her friends.
“A lot of my customers know my story,” she said. “When you’re purchasing from me you’re not just purchasing from somebody. You’re purchasing to help support my special needs daughter.”
She’ll post photos on Facebook about a piece of furniture before it’s finished, and it’ll be sold before she even works on it.
Hoffman sold a few pieces from her home more than 12 years ago and realized people were interested in the dressers, side tables and other items she refurbished, so she kept doing it.
Now, one side of Hoffman’s garage displays detailed pieces of refurbished furniture, while the other houses her tools and work-in-progress projects.
“Who doesn’t love solid wood?” Hoffman asked, pointing to one of the many dark blue dressers.
She said she usually sells one to three items a day. Hoffman also accepts custom orders. She’ll spend hours communicating with a customer to determine the right color and hardware for the piece.
All of the furniture for sale is posted on the Furniture on Fifth Facebook page.
Hoffman collaborates with three local companies that place elderly residents into assisted living facilities. When the seniors move out of their homes, they often leave behind large furniture pieces.
The companies notify her of any unwanted furniture, and she’ll buy some of the items for the shop. Other times she’ll have to search for a while to find just the right item.
“I don’t take all of them because I’m kind of picky,” Hoffman said.
She has six children, four of whom have special needs, and two grandchildren. Her oldest child is 24 and her youngest is 13.
Her husband, John, owns a remodeling business where he refinishes kitchen cabinets and installs tile, among other projects. Sometimes they are able to work together on projects, she said.
Hoffman hopes her story will inspire other mothers with special needs children.
“For moms who have special needs children and who are overwhelmed, if I can do it then you can too,” she said. “Find something that you’re good at and passionate about and just do it.”
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting several businesses, Furniture on Fifth thrived, she said.
A few customers bought homes and then visited Hoffman’s shop, taking away about half of the furniture and decor in the store. Others would even drive from Seattle to pick up items.
Now, Hoffman is looking to further expand her business. She hopes to design and build a shop on their family property.
“Normal, typical and boring are not my kind of thing,” she said. “I like my pieces to have lots of characteristics, style and design.”