All Things Consignment
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It’s natural to assume that All Things Consignment is named for its inventory. When a place sells fainting couches and Nebraska oil cans and Art-Deco smoking stands, that seems like a safe bet.
But sit down for a moment on one of the couches for sale in the old photography-studio-turned-consignment shop and let its owners share their real story.
It’s much better.
Jeff and Sally Row are spiritual people, deeply devoted to their faith and their church – Evangelical Free Church in Geneva. All Things (as in Philippians 4:13 “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me) is the Bible verse in Sally’s life, words that bolstered and comforted through heart surgery and other life trials.
One Sunday in 2014, after years of prayer seeking their mission and asking God to “open doors and close doors” to help them find it, Sally felt she had received a revelation. “I felt God telling me one morning to do this, even to the point that it will be called ‘All Things.’”
The result is the consignment/antique store, with its hints of a home décor boutique and the hospitality of a coffee shop. But it’s actually a non-profit enterprise, whose funds benefit the mission of the Evangelical Free Church –anything from a planned new fellowship hall to water purification systems in Haiti.
“Individually, we weren’t able to help the church in the way we’ve always wanted to, but by using the gifts we were given…we are now ultimately giving back in a bigger way.”
The Rows plan to use the income from the building’s upstairs apartments as part of their retirement fund.
They originally planned to open All Things in another Geneva location. But after several months of inquiry plans had stalled. Door closed.
Then Walter Realtor Karla Jacobson approached them about the current building, across from the courthouse on Nebraska Highway 41, with a brick exterior and the character to match what they wanted to sell inside. Door open.
Walter Agency Co-Owner Bart Brinkman, a Shickley High School classmate of Jeff’s, found business insurance to match their venture. “It’s nice to get guidance from people you know and can have a conversation with,” he said.
Jeff did much of the renovation work, using his carpentry talents to turn the bottom floor of the building into nearly one open space. About 15 people from their church also pitched in, tackling landscaping, dropping by with food or wielding a hammer indoors.
All Things opened doors on Friday the 13th in November 2015. “We do have a sense of humor,” she said.
For Sally, All Things provides the platform for the talents her family noticed as a child. She always loved colors; always saw old picture frames or antique discards as items with character and potential. She has been upcycling, repurposing and making things beautiful ever since. Under her careful eye, an oil can, a distressed wooden ladder and a fishing net can live in harmony in one display, where under lesser guidance, it could look like a heap from a forgotten corner of the garage; just like her instincts somehow know that those shiny longhorns would be perfect between a beveled mirror and an exquisite red bench.
“I like patriotic; I like handmade; I like mixing old with new… I like things that make you feel comfortable."
“On farms you don’t throw anything away,” pointed out Jeff, one of three generations currently farming Bear Creek Farms near Shickley. The operation includes one of their three grown sons.
At first, the Rows sold their own items from years of collecting. Others soon asked to consign items as well, adding another dimension to the store. How else would they have gotten the maple syrup taps that sold so fast they didn’t even have time to accumulate dust? (The only thing that sold faster was an old manure spreader Jeff pulled in from the farm. “It was gone before I could do any displays with it,” Sally said.” Architectural salvage is big, she explains.)
Other people are consigning or donating handmade items, adding a handcrafted element to their store.
Jeff and Sally are still waiting for their business to feel like a job. Right now, it feels like a blessing. People still bring in food. Sally gets to work with her friend and “conscience,” employee Marti Austin, and Aaryn Schweitzer and Victoria Verhage, who keep the business details in order. They all get to meet people from different walks of life.
“It’s amazing how many people want to do this with us,” Jeff said, talking about the couple from Lincoln who visited the store, then drove back to donate a chair because they wanted to be a part of the ministry. Another couple made a point to visit All Things on their way from Wyoming to Oklahoma.
A new Facebook page is spreading the word and All Things’ plans, for flea markets and outdoor events when the weather allows.
“We’re just seeing where this will take us. We’re happy to be that symbolic ripple in the water,” Jeff said.