Having a thrift store might seem like an unusual dream and passion, but two sisters planned for ten years to open one in Limestone County, gathered items to stock their store, and then tragedy struck. Kristie Klatt lost her sister and would be business partner Norma suddenly six years ago. To say that this is a close knit family is an understatement, and the loss of Norma was extraordinarily hard on Kristie, her sisters, and Norma’s family. Kristie decided to forge ahead with her niece (and Norma’s daughter,) Rachel Rohde, to make the dream come true. As a result of their hard work and that of their family, “misc., upscale resale” opened in February of 2013, and is located at the intersection of East Limestone and Nick Davis.
Most thrift stores don’t have mission statements, either, but these gals are sharp cookies and have committed themselves to the people of Limestone County by stating that “misc.,” exists “to inspire our customers with unique and useful merchandise at the best value, and pay it forward to our local communities.”
How do they “pay it forward?” First of all, through their prices. This is a thrift store, not a consignment store, and they have people who help them find high quality items that can be sold at thrift store prices. For example, recently a family that was in a tough place financially came to get clothes for their kids, and there was an Aeropostale shirt in the Bargain Room for only a dollar.
“misc.,” also donates clothes to Pathfinders, a Huntsville based charity that serves as a half way house for people who have just gotten out of prison. The residents most often have nothing, (and usually at first have no way to get anything,) and misc. provides them with decent clothes to wear as they get back on their feet and reenter society. Recently “misc.,” also found dressing gowns, robes, pajamas and slippers for new residents at a nursing home who had nothing in which to sleep. Also, Kristie’s church is going to be involved in a mission trip to Nicaragua, and they were able to make a donation toward the cost of the trip. It is clear that these gals have a heart to serve others, but as I asked them, “When there are a number of thrift stores in the area, why should I shop at your place?” I loved their answer.
“We are eclectic and unique,” said Kristie. “Where else can you get everything from African masks to vintage glass at thrift store prices?” Rachel then added, “We are very concerned about the customer’s experience when they come into the store.” They also mentioned that they wanted their customers to feel like family, thankfully a common theme amongst business owners in Athens. Speaking of family, four of the nine sisters in Kristie’s family live in Athens, they all worked hard to make “misc.,” come together back in February, and they still help out. You can tell this whole tribe really loves folks, and they want to make sure that each client knows it. Next to the cash register is a small notebook that has a list of items for which customers are searching, and Kristie confidently states that she knows everything their customers have purchased. Some of the other uncommon things that Kristie and Rachel do to make for a pleasing ambiance are to make sure the store has fresh flowers, and they always see to it that fragrant candles are burning.
In addition, most of the time there is praise and worship music playing in the store. “The customers come in and start to sing,” said Kristie. They both told me about some of their favorite moments since they opened up. A family had just returned from China with their newly adopted four year old. They needed a toy for their new child, and didn’t want to go all the way into town to shop for one. There happened to be a perfect Mr. Potato Head in the store, which they snapped up, and it was a big hit with their new little one.
Another thing that gives both Kristie and Rachel joy is being able to help college kids furnish their first apartment. They love it when people come in and say things like, “My Grandma had a bowl just like that. We ate out of it every Sunday!” “misc., upscale resale” wants everything they sell “to go to a good home,” and they firmly believe “everything has a story.” If you are looking for a place where you become family and the shopkeepers care so much about you that they keep your wishes in a book, then “misc.,” is the place for you.
27481 Nick Davis Rd, Athens, AL 35613
Open: Tues-Fri 9-5 Sat 10-4
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By: Ali Elizabeth Turner