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Archive for Wednesday, October 14, 1998

FURNITURE STORE SEEKS ITS NICHE

October 14, 1998

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When a customer came up a few dollars short for sales tax while buying some furniture one day last week, Amy Ballinger told him not to sweat it, she could work with him.

And when the customer worried that all the stuff he bought might not fit into his car, Ballinger told him her husband had a truck and probably could deliver whatever his car couldn't handle.

In Lawrence's already crowded used-goods marketplace, Ballinger hopes her philosophy of treating customers with extra care will set her apart.

So far, she said, it's working.

``I didn't anticipate having such a tremendous response, especially from North Lawrence residents,'' Ballinger said.

Amy's Attic, a used furniture store, has been open since Aug. 1 at Seventh and Locust streets in North Lawrence.

Ballinger says she won't let people take advantage of her easygoing business philosophy, but she is willing to work with customers and be as flexible as possible.

Opening a used furniture shop was something Ballinger had dreamed about. ``I've wanted to do it for years and years,'' she said.

Ballinger sells an eclectic mix of used home furnishings, from bedroom dressers and mattresses to kitchen tables and curtains. She buys, trades and sells at her North Lawrence store, looking for ``nice and unusual things.''

Amy's Attic carries some antiques, which Ballinger says she tries to keep lower-priced than an antique store would. Because of the range of her offerings -- low-priced bedroom suites, used kitchen tables -- Ballinger said there's something for everyone, from students on a limited budget to middle-income families to antique enthusiasts.

Ballinger gets in about three truckloads of inventory a week. She can hardly keep bookcases and chests of drawers in stock.

``They usually go the day I get them in,'' she said.

Ballinger also offers some children's clothing and baby items, though those offerings are hit and miss, she said.

Her purchasing guidelines are flexible, but Ballinger will trade or pay cash. In trade, she usually gives 60 percent of what she thinks she'll get for an item, and 45 percent in cash.

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The number at Amy's Attic is 842-6469.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is dgruver@ljworld.com.

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