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Storytelling: Sally Nimmow, Owner of Thrift-In

"I was in corporate America for 24 years when I was laid off due to downsizing. I tried a number of different fields to find a career that was going to suit me, and I never felt that I was in the right position. Eventually, I went to work for someone who had a thrift store. I was working there seven days a week. My husband said, ‘Why are you doing this for somebody else? Why not do it for yourself?’ He had just retired and was available to help me, so it was perfect timing. That's what we did. We decided, ‘Okay, we're done. Let's find a spot. Let's collect our inventory and open a store.’ It took us about three and a half weeks and we opened our doors here in Lake Geneva. Everything was falling into place for us.


We started out on Center Street in the old Derrick Funeral Home. We had a small space in the basement that was around 300 square feet. We wanted a stepping stone to see whether or not it would be successful, so we started small. After a bit, we were able to move up to street level in the same building, which was really nice. We had four rooms where we could set it up like a home. In 2019, we found out that the building was being sold; we had to find somewhere to relocate or we would have to go out of business. Closing the business was not an option. Within 60 days that year, we had sold our house, my husband was in a car accident, he had been diagnosed with cancer, and we had to move the store.


We checked so many places for a new store location, then we just happened upon our current space and everything fell into place like it was meant to be. In the first six days in the Market of Lake Geneva, we sold more furniture than we had in the previous 60 days at the original location. We've met a lot of nice people and we have an amazing following… a lot of regulars. We have a lot of people that come from Illinois every weekend. Most of our clientele are looking for nice, clean furniture but not trying to break the bank and we offer that here in Lake Geneva.


My husband would come to work for me two or three days a week so I could get out, run errands, and source new products. You know, to look at him, people never knew he was sick. People never knew that he had this little chemo fanny pack on while he was working. He never felt sorry for himself. He would say to me, ‘You know what, we'll get through this. We will make it.’ He loved working at the store. He didn't like shopping for the store haha, but he loved being here. After he passed, it was just the dog and me every day. Gizmo and I are here together seven days a week.


Every day, I get up in the morning, I think about how my day is going to be and what I need to get done. I just go for it. I don't dwell on something and worry I won’t finish a task because you know what? I will. And at the end of the day, I do. I put my big girl pants on every morning and head out to do whatever it's going to take to make my business work for me. I make sure that the customers that we have, or the new customers that we hope to have, are pleased and happy with everything that they've seen, or found, or bought. Our products are clean, they’re quality, and we want people to come back and buy again. I try to share my vision with others so they can see beyond a piece of furniture and turn it into something really special to earn a place in their home.'" - Sally Nimmow, Thrift-In , Located at the back of The Market of Lake Geneva on the right.

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