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One man's junk...:My 2nd Home thrift and antique store opens in DL

Donita Kimball has been a "junk addict," since she was a kid but, now with her new store, My 2nd Home, she's able to make a profit from her passion. Kaysey Price/Tribune1 / 3
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At Donita Kimball's antique and thrift store, My 2nd Home, she's been doing a bit of everything since opening a little over a year ago: consignment, refurbishing furniture, buying and selling — she's even got eggs for sale.

"The best in town," one customer said, walking out the door with a few cartons in tow.

But what Kimball specializes in is the barter.

"Barter is my middle name," said said. "I love to barter."

It's all part of the thrifting thrill for Kimball, who lives the antiquing lifestyle 24/7, with shows like "Storage Wars" and "Flea Market Flip" always on at home. She can't help it. It's how she was raised.

"I've been a junk addict since I was a little kid," she said, recalling "seeking out little treasures" while on day trips with her parents, a tradition she continued when she became a mother.

"I used to push my daughter, Carrie, in her stroller to auctions," she said, adding that she's been learning the tricks of the trade from older dealers for many years.

Kimball started out with a booth in SuLaine's Antique Mall, and when store space became available next door, she swept in and made the purchase.

"I knew it had been a tile and flooring store, so I knew it would fit for what I was thinking," Kimball said, pointing out the various flooring sections still in the building, which she uses to separate different furniture and showcase pieces.

As for the furniture, her husband does a lot of refurbishing to upsell older pieces. Then, he also helps Kimball repair appliances to sell.

"For years he was an appliance repair man," said Kimball, adding that he is hoping to retire soon, so the two can focus entirely on the antique store.

Not all of the refurbished furniture is Kimball's though; she's got friends who sell their furniture there too, under consignment, or Kimball will purchase items from dealers, usually by the truckload.

"I had eight different dealers in here... then I kind of took back my spaces," said Kimball, referring to her set up when she first opened. "Everything fills up and goes so fast that I kind of get nervous I'll run out."

Now, though, she's got about 50 consignors and, she says, the turnover is still high. Last year, she bought three households of furniture, and as of this summer, it's all gone, save for a tea cup and a silver set.

Kimball just keeps buying and filling up her space, though it never stays too long.

"We hit the crisis auction," she said. "DL Swap sites are awesome for buying and selling."

So, she's not just buying and selling out of her shop but online as well — and she also keeps her eyes out if customers come in with a special request.

"I take names of people looking for something," said Kimball.

And she said she doesn't usually have to look to hard to find what people are looking for. More often than not, she says someone will come in with a request, and the next day someone else will walk in trying to sell exactly what the previous customer was looking to buy.

"Seriously! It happens!" she said, adding, "One guy came in wanting beanie babies, and the next day a lady came in with a whole tub (of the stuffed animals)."

And it always works out well for Kimball.

"I ended up tripling my money," she said.

And she's made a few similar good swaps that lined her pocket book pretty well, but she says she's "still waiting for the golden egg."

Though it's not all about the cash.

"Finding the pieces is half the fun," said Kimball, adding that there are a few items she just can't bring herself to part with.

She also likes learning about the history behind the different pieces that end up in her store, "always learning," and she says the internet has been quite helpful in that department: "Without Ebay and Etsy we'd be lost."

Another big help is who you know in the biz.

"You talk about everything (with customers)," said Kimball. "It's a good way to network."

Of course, there's the regulars, too, who Kimball keeps the coffee warm for.