By Mary V. Hollingsworth
Congratulations to Debbie Shough and her family as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of etc. Consignment Shoppe, located at 690 Jonestown Road in Winston-Salem. etc. Consignment has recently been named by Winston-Salem Journal’s Reader’s Choice Awards as the number one consignment store, as well as the number one furniture store in Winston-Salem.
Celebrating this many years of service to the community is no small accomplishment. While this one-time family of three opened their business in 1995 with 3,000 square feet, ‘expansions’ have been a common thread in their business, as well as in the Shough family. To date, the Shough family has grown to five in number, and the shop exceeds 21,000 square feet with more than 24,000 consignors. To quantify that, the shop has more consignors than the Lawrence Joel Coliseum can seat!
Some may be confused by the name of the store, thinking it sells only “consigned” or “gently used” items, but it offers bo th consigned and new retail items. As of November 2014, etc. could not be contained under one roof, and now an extension of the store is located across the parking lot, under the name, “etc. Home.”
“etc. Home” carries new furniture, as well as showroom samples, at unbelievable prices. Whether you’re getting your first apartment, purchasing your first home, making an addition, or downsizing, etc. Home or etc. Consignment Shoppe should be your first stop for shopping.
The periods of growth for the business have never been strategically planned. Debbie shares, “The growth has been a blessing and a monster…having never anticipated it from the beginning, I’ve simply accepted what was happening outside of my plans/ ideas, as it has never been about me. I haven’t expanded out of a need to grow or ‘get bigger’; God’s plans have always been bigger than my own. I’ve even tried to inhibit the growth at times, but He continues to move the business forward, despite my occasional resistance. It’s as if God has a predetermined purpose for the growth in either blessing someone else through an employment opportunity, or serving someone outside of our doors. Whatever the reason, and despite the hard work that comes with each change, God continues to provide for the store in order for us to continue giving.”
Shough’s attitude is one that reflects a recognition that the business doesn’t belong to her. She says, “In a quiet moment, I walk through the store recognizing God’s blessings on this business with a realization that things could change in a snap. I’m quite humbled by it all.”
As a result of so much growth, Steve, Debbie’s husband, has joined the staff of etc. full-time. His skill set will allow Debbie to come from behind the desk and be a part of what she’s really passionate about…the people. Debbie reflects, “I love interacting with the customers, both old and new. It’s always fulfilling when customers share their life with me. Life is about relationships and if I listen carefully enough, there’s something shared that was intended for my ears. Their stories are frequently exciting, sometimes sad and always thought provoking. They teach me lessons about life, myself, and the way in which we all need one another. I’m continually amazed at how much I experience God throughout the seemingly benign shared conversations.”
“In our morning meetings prior to the store opening, I often remind employees that someone will come in the store today that will be in need of a smile or affirming words. If we all slow down and listen carefully, we have an opportunity to be or to receive a blessing. Working at etc. has to be more than a mere job, and I’m not just the store owner. We are a team – one unit – comprised of many different personalities and gifts, and therefore our staff must function with mutual respect and appreciation for each other and the hard work required to succeed,” says Debbie.
“I must confess, one monumental expansion I totally didn’t strategically plan or anticipate was the expansion of our family through adoption!” says Debbie, still shaking her head in disbelief over their adoption of two children just after becoming empty-nesters. “Steve realized that his wife who left for just a mission trip to Uganda, is not the wife who returned from that mission trip.”
Now, four years later, with two adopted children, an adult son, a daughter-in-law and a 3 year old granddaughter, Debbie and Steve’s life is fuller than ever. Edith and Derrick had not been adopted and in the US for 1 year before becoming an aunt and uncle! “How strange for my kids to have a niece so early in their lives!” comments Debbie.
Derrick is almost 7 years old, a ‘daddy’s boy,] full of life, loves Legos, and is enamored with motors of any kind. Edith is almost 9 years old, has a smile to surely brighten any room, enjoys drawing, and loves learning new things about animals.
Steve says, “At my age, it’s amazing how, when given a second chance at parenting, life can get so exciting through giving of yourself to someone in need. Both children have become the best part of life. Most kids bring joy to parents because they are their offspring. However, these children are adopted and the love I have for our kids surpasses biology.”
Both Steve and Debbie agree how rewarding it is watch their adult son, Josh, as a husband and father. Although these grandparents would love to have their granddaughter, Isabella Grace, a little closer than Nashville, TN, they are thankful when time permits them to all gather together.
When asked if there had been any lessons learned along the way, Debbie replies, “With life, comes ‘change,’ which can yield growth. Many times we resist change, having no recognition or appreciation for the possibility of inner personal growth. I’m learning to stop resisting and simply ‘go with the flow.’”