Kim Weimer / PhillyBurbs Staff Photographer
Making a Living
Finding the bright side of life
Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 2:01 pm, Thu Oct 24, 2013.
Finding the bright side of life By Crissa Shoemaker DeBree , PhillyBurbs Staff writer
Carole Hubing considers herself fortunate.
She’s healthy. She has a loving family. And she has a growing business.
That’s not to say life has been easy. In fact, life has thrown pretty much everything it can at Hubing. Cancer. Disabilities. The loss of the family’s only source of income.
But Hubing, the owner of the new Butterflies and Bullfrogs at the Pad consignment store in Doylestown, keeps smiling.
“It hasn’t been an easy road,” Hubing acknowledges. “But I’m certainly not complaining.”
Hubing, who was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer 10 years ago, was until recently a stay-at-home mom to her four children, who range in age from 10 to 21. Three of her children have special needs, ranging from epilepsy to Asperger syndrome, a form of autism.
Her husband, Alan, supported the family through his printing business, which specialized in printing for the pharmaceutical industry. Over the past several years, however, that business has dried up as printing has gone digital, the Hubings said.
“We knew printing was done,” Carole Hubing said. “One of us needed a career.”
During a pass through a McDonald’s drive-through, Hubing noticed store space for rent in the East Street shopping center. The space was formerly occupied by the Pinwheel, a consignment store that moved to Veterans Way in Doylestown.
“I saw the ‘for rent’ sign and said, ‘If I’m going to do it, then just do it,’” Hubing said.
The family poured their savings into the store. They even sold their home in Plumstead and used the proceeds to buy a new home in Doylestown without a mortgage. What was left over went into the store.
Hubing said she’s no stranger to consignment.
She’s been shopping second-hand stores since before they were trendy. She also worked part time at Butterflies and Bullfrogs, the upscale children’s consignment store in Chalfont.
Hubing said she paid to be able to use the Butterflies and Bullfrogs name, and added “At the Pad” to distinguish herself. The two stores aren’t affiliated.
Butterflies and Bullfrogs at the Pad sells items for women, men and children. Consigners get 40 percent of the sale price; the shop keeps the rest. There are no fees to consign. Items must be in mint condition and no more than three years old to be considered.
Hubing said she loves her store, which on a recent visit was packed with items. But like everything in her life, opening wasn’t easy.
The store was supposed to open Sept. 1. But floods from Hurricane Irene destroyed half the store before it could open. Lee took half of what was left. Thankfully sale items were stored in plastic bins and weren’t damaged. The store opened Sept. 17 after a thorough cleaning.
Despite all that she’s been through, Hubing maintains an upbeat, can-do attitude about life. Her kids are her inspiration, she said.
“I’m still standing, and I’m still smiling,” she said. “I have to be the strong one. I have to be the cheerleader. I don’t know where it comes from. It’s just who you are.”