“Once upon a time,” two sisters planned for ten years to open a thrift store in Limestone County, gathered items to stock their store, and then tragedy struck. Kristie Klatt suddenly lost her sister and would be business partner, Norma Rhode, six years ago. 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 Rd and Nick Davis Rd. It is now two years later, and Rachel, having helped to launch the dream, has gone on to pursue her own. The whole family continues to help at what Kristie calls a “mom and pop store,” and misc. is one of my favorite places to visit on my Athens Now delivery route.
Most thrift stores don’t have mission statements, but this family has committed itself 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.
Another way is through their involvement with Ability Plus, an organization which, amongst other things, puts people with Autism and other disorders into a work situation to see if they can mainstream as employees in the work world. Kristie gives them tasks there in the shop, and the assessor observes to see how they do with following directions and completing what they have been asked to do. As Kristie says, “Everyone needs a shot,” and she has greatly enjoyed working with Ability Plus and the candidates. With a chuckle she told me about one young man who came in for an assessment, worked hard, and then looked at her and asked, “Can I play with the cash register?” She has been very pleased with the support she has received from customers regarding her association with Ability Plus, and plans to continue working with them as an assessment site. It is clear that she a heart to serve others, but as I asked her, “When there are a number of thrift stores in the area, why should I shop at your place?” I loved her answer.
“We are eclectic and unique,” said Kristie. She then added, “Where else can you get everything from Avon Cape Cod glassware to vintage hats at thrift store prices?” 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. The notebook also contains prayer requests, and answers to those prayers, for anyone comfortable with making their needs known. MISC. is also solidly a part of the re-purposing revolution. I saw a flute which had been turned into a table lamp that Kristie had made. She found the flute at a yard sale, and gave it a whole new life. There are fun signs for sale as well, my personal favorite being, “My family tree is full of nuts.” The store is decorated with what I would call a touch of whimsy coupled with tongue-in-cheek. For example, what would normally be called a “bargain bin” has been renamed the “Cheap Chick’s Coop, 50 cents to $4.00.”
Most of the time there is praise and worship music playing in the store. “The customers come in and start to sing,” said Kristie. While I was there, classic hymns sung by Elvis were playing, and I found myself singing along, too.
Another thing that gives Kristie joy is being able to help college kids furnish their first apartment. She loves 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 shopkeeper cares so much about you that they keep your wishes in a book, then “misc.,” is the place for you.
Location: 27481 Nick Davis Rd, Athens, AL 35613
Open Tue-Fri 9-5 Sat 10-4
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By: Ali Elizabeth Turner