Looking Back on 28 Wonderful Years

It was 28 years ago this month that I took the reins of Finders Keepers Consignment Shop. That’s hard to believe! I was just 30 years old with 2 small children living in North Carolina when the original owner, Reba Brown, called to inquire if I was interested in buying the Avondale location from her.

Long story short: I worked for Finders Keepers part-time after my second child was born as a way to make a little extra money while my children were in Mother’s Morning Out at a nearby church. Then my husband’s job took us to North Carolina where we lived for 2 ½ years when I got the call from Reba. I knew the business, had a retail background and a degree in Marketing from GSU, and an entrepreneurial spirit from a very young age. Our family was all here so we decided it was a great opportunity and a good reason to move back to Georgia.

We put our NC house on the market, packed up a U-Haul and headed home. My neighbors thought I had lost my mind because I wanted to buy and run a small “thrift shop” in Avondale Estates. My husband Parke had no job lined up in Atlanta, we had to borrow the money to buy the store, we moved into 2 rooms at my in-laws house, and we took a huge leap of faith. The next Monday I went to work at the shop and Parke went to work looking for a job. Goodness knows it was tight and I’m so grateful to my in-laws for welcoming us into their home. Side note: that was also the year they decided to “winter in Florida” and looking back I totally understand!

Betsy, my sister-in-law, came to work with me one of the first Saturdays I owned the shop and has worked almost every Saturday since! She eventually quit her corporate job and came to work full time running Finders Keepers Furnishings in 2004.

Finders Keepers was originally in the Tudor Village in one store front, quickly expanded to two store fronts and then after we bought it, we expanded into three store fronts. In 1995 we built a new store and moved out of the Tudor Village into 84 N. Avondale Road. In 2003 we opened Finders Keepers Furnishings at 2753 E. College Ave in an old auto garage. 2008 was the year we purchased Chicki-Bea Resale Shop and re-opened it as Finders Keepers Boutique, run by my daughter Casey and another seasoned Finders Keepers employee. Our fourth location, Finders Keepers Menswear opened in 2011. In 2016 Finders Keepers Furnishings was bursting at the seams, the Salvation Army space became available and we moved the store to 2853 E. College Avenue in the Twin Oaks Shopping Center that May.

Every expansion, every move has been a leap of faith, too. I am grateful for everyone who has had faith in me all these years from my husband and children, our parents, bankers, customers, consignors, employees, friends and colleagues who have all supported me in more ways than I can count. But I have to single out Reba Brown who believed in me enough to call and offer me the business even though I lived in North Carolina. Looking back, that it all came together is extraordinary and definitely a God-thing. I’ve owned Finders Keepers since 1990 but it was Reba that opened its doors in 1984. We are quickly approaching 35 years in business next February but I couldn’t let this month go by without telling you how it all began for me, 28 years ago this month.

Thank you for your support of Finders Keepers and the resale industry and what it represents. I am both honored and humbled to continue to own and run this business with a wonderful staff and a loyal following.

In love and gratitude,

Bonnie Kallenberg

© 2020 by Finders Keepers Consignment Inc.

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