About Redeemed and Repurposed Furniture
The Mustard Seed owner, Peggy Weidert, established Redeemed and Repurposed Furniture within her existing business after she and employee Joyce McMunn attended the International Christian Booksellers convention in June.
“They offer education classes, and we signed up for one in merchandising,” Weidert said. “This lady from Montana talked about how she had a 3000 ft.² building in a town with 4000 people. She “gallerized” her store, and her book sales went up 53%, which sounded wonderful to us. Our sales have been declining more and more with Kindles and online downloads. We had to do something.”
Framing Memories, which shared space with The Mustard Seed, recently relocated to its own building on N. 16th St.
“We had been together a long time and I hated to see her go, but at the same time it presented an opportunity for us to be able to take that wall down between the two areas,” Weidert said. “When we bought this building back in the late 90s, I think 1999, and moved in here from 1724 Parsons Plaza, we had so many books and those cosmetic cases that were in here were not functional. We had covered them with slat boards so we had a wall for displaying books and Bibles. When we were talking about what we could do, I said I thought the cabinets were still behind that wall. Thinking of reusing them, we took down a 4 foot section of the slat boards and plywood. The cabinets couldn’t have been in better shape and the light bulbs still worked. That started the wheels turning.”
About a year and a half ago, both Joyce McMunn and Weidert had personally started refurbishing furniture with chalk paint.
“It is not chalkboard paint. Chalk paint is a type of paint that will adhere to metal, concrete and wood without sanding everything off first,” she said. “As long as it doesn’t have a slick surface, you can just start painting it.”
“We could only keep so much in our houses, so we started bringing certain pieces in,” Weidert said.
Considering what they learned at the convention, and what they were already doing on a small scale, Weidert thought, “Why not do this for the store?”
“Susie York helped come up with the name Redeemed and Repurposed, like Christ did for us,” she said. “I love the idea of taking discarded pieces that people don’t consider of any value, painting and repairing them so that they become of value to someone again.”
Word has spread, and people ask Weidert to come haul off old furniture they no longer want.
“We have gone through storage units, gone through old barns, and we go to garage sales and auctions. That part, the garage sales and auctions, my husband and I enjoy doing anyway. Finding the pieces, that is the best part,” Weidert said. “People know we are going to reuse it, so they usually give us a good deal so we are able to keep prices affordable.”
Scattered about the store, there are dining room table sets with four chairs for $80, $90 and $120, end tables for $25 and $30, chairs for $25 and more.
“We try to go with real wood pieces, so we can fix it and it lasts – selling a decent refurbished piece at a decent cost.”
Pointing to an off-white desk, with red top and trim, Weidert said, “That is an Ethan Allen solid wood desk for $85. We have some larger kitchen tables that seat six or eight that sell for $150 or so but I don’t think we have anything priced over $200. The cost all depends on what we have to pay for it and what we have to do to it, but we try to keep it so we have nice furniture affordable to anyone.”
Response to Redeemed and Repurposed Furniture has been amazing.
“It’s been busy enough that we have added two more part-time people for the season,” Weidert said. “People have been coming in the store from Chanute, Erie, Coffeyville, Edna, Independence and Pittsburg. They are all coming to Parsons.”
Besides hunting for and refurbishing old furniture to sell, Weidert said they also started doing custom furniture painting for people.
“That has been keeping us very busy. We have a list of things to do for people after Christmas because we are so busy now with the holiday season,” she said. “I hate to say we are out of space when we have just doubled in size, but it’s true.”
In the basement below the business, scuffed, scratched, broken, stained or simply outdated furniture sits everywhere.
“We have to find it and there aren’t many garage sales and auctions in the winter, so we stashed some so we would have enough inventory to get us through the winter,” Weidert said.
Behind the counter, a sign reads: “We hunt for it. We find it. We haul it. We clean it. We sand in. We paint it. We wax it. We haul it. (Again). We stage it. We sell it. We miss it. But we love what we do.”
“That says it all for us,” Weidert said.
Every piece they complete they give a biblical name and coinciding Scripture, and they record the paint color and information about the piece.
“Hopefully people will go home and look up the Scriptures and read the stories … And if they decide they want another piece done to match it, we have recorded the information so we can match it,” Weidert said.
With chalk paint, there is no odor, so Weidert said they can work on refurbishing the pieces at the store.
“We make our own chalk paint. We use a dry mix we just add to regular paint so we can make it our own. We also sell it, so people can take it home and make their own chalk paint,” Weidert said. “My original inspiration was an old cedar chest that was my mom’s. It was something I wanted to keep, but it was in such bad condition I couldn’t display it. I don’t do stripping and sanding, so my daughter turned me on to chalk paint. I bought the first quart, a name brand, that was $36 a quart. It turned out gorgeous and it sets at the end of my bed in a place of honor, but I knew if I wanted to start doing this, I could not use name brand paint, so I started doing a lot of research and tried lots of different formulas until I found one we like. Then we finish them the old-fashioned way with furniture wax, not polyurethane, which I don’t really like the look of it anyway.
Blessings are bountiful in the new business venture. Not only can people get affordable furniture they can be proud to show in their home, but also Weidert’s business is again flourishing, and, she said, “it is bringing people to Parsons, too.”