Photos Andy Calvert - Melanie Burke Drummond and Dina Drawdy Cowan
As the seasons change, the urge to get rid of things we do not use grows strong. The garage is bursting at the seams with toys, tools and everything in between. Our closets are so full that hanging another garment would require the aid of Hercules and a smidgen of Vaseline.
Let’s face it, most of us are blessed beyond measure and we accumulate way more than we would ever need. It helps when we lessen the load and move out the things that are far too short, a touch too tight or just products we don’t use anymore. Well, you should be happy to know that there are two ladies who have taken the baton from business owners of yesteryear, and made consignment an easy and family-fun affair.
Thank goodness for Dina Drawdy Cowan and Melanie Burke Drummond, owners of Twice is Nice. Twice is Nice is Rome’s oldest consignment business that was started over
35 years ago by a group of friends who wanted to save a few bucks when shopping for their children.
Of course, we all know that kids grow like weeds, so buying something nice for them this week often means we get to watch it be pushed to the rear of the closet in only a few months. The first group of owners grew wise over the years, and decided to offer the gently-used items for a discounted price and keep their homes from becoming overcrowded with the clutter from raising tiny tots and teenagers.
“Karen Foss and I started Twice is Nice in 1983,” says Emily Barba, one of the original owners of the business. “We started with 25 of our personal friends. Within three years our business tripled. We started with an investment of $25 each to pay for the flyers. When we out grew my house at 515 Cooper Drive, I partnered with Jane Cunningham and we rented our first building. We sold the business in 1992.”
As the community grew, so did the fellowship they all shared during the times the sales were held. Parents who were looking to save money when buying children’s items could find quality shopping at a fraction of the price, and the bonds naturally tightened as they continually made the event a must-attend several times a year.
“Before we bought Twice is Nice in 2004, from four well-known ladies in the community, we were young moms who were dedicated contributors and shoppers. It is really amazing to think that this business started in the back yard of two wonderful ladies,” Drummond says. “At that time we had a third partner for several years, Christi Cates, until she retired from the business.”
As with all things business related, the prior owners eventually looked to pass the baton. It should not be a surprise that the owners of Twice is Nice would start the search for their successors amongst their most loyal clients.
“Emily Barba and Jane Cunningham eventually sold the business to Angie Stegall, Robin Easterwood, Ellen Ryan and Debbie Galloway,” says Drummond,” and when they were ready to sell, they approached us because they knew we were interested in the consignment business.”
Both Cowan and Drummond have full-time careers, so balancing the demand of running the now massive sale is a task. Cowan is a Registered Nurse for Redmond Regional Medical Center and Drummond is a Speech Pathologist for the Floyd County Schools system. Both have roughly 26 years each invested in their jobs, but it does not take long at all to gather that they do not view their consignment business as work. They think of the time spent as tradition. It also helps that these two ladies have been friends since the first grade.
“Twice is Nice has grown over the years and requires a large space,” Cowan explains. “Finding a location for the sale can be very challenging. We have worked with several business owners, real estate agents, and friends in the community to make Twice is Nice happen each sale. Twice is Nice has contributors not only in Rome but all surrounding cities and states.”
And now, let us get to the hangers and racks of what this business is and how it all works. The sale site rotates depending on the availability of space. The Kessler’s building in Downtown Rome, Rome’s now demolished Riverbend Mall, the old Battey Machinery building that now houses Unity Christian School and recently, one of the exhibit buildings at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds have all served as sale locations for Rome’s oldest consignment mainstay. With 300 to 500-plus contributors for each sale, the ladies need at least 10,000-25,000 square feet to pull it off.
“There are not many locations that can support the amount of space we need. We require heating and air conditioning, good lighting and plenty of space for parking,” Cowan explains. “We also try to make our space central and convenient for the surrounding counties who visit and contribute to our sale. We have reached the 600-contributor mark before, so it takes a really large space to organize everything properly and to make sure the shopping experience is enjoyable.”
Those who wish to sell their gently-used children’s items are referred to as “contributors” by the pair of consigners. They communicate with their contributors and inform them about planning details. The next step is for the contributors to name their desired selling price and then to drop the items off on designated drop off days.
There are two sales per year, one in the fall and one in the spring. From drop off to check/items pick-up, the entire event lasts for about a month. Contributors and other partners in the sale are allowed several early shopping opportunities, with the contributors getting the first pick of the inventory. The idea is to allow those who make the sale possible the chance to benefit from the amazing deals and vast inventory found at the Twice is Nice sale.
From maternity clothing and stuffed animals to video games and playground equipment, nothing is turned away that is in good shape and is kid-centered. Infant to junior are the sizes they prefer, but they will take clothing for the healthy young lad in your family as well.
“Many of our contributors make enough money to buy their children’s clothes for the season,” Cowan explains. “It really is an excellent opportunity for families to make extra money and remove unwanted items from the household inventory. We offer 70 percent of the ticket price to our contributors. Most consignments only give 60 percent to their contributors, so we feel like they are getting a good return on their items.”
Perhaps one of the most important and fulfilling parts of what the ladies share is the charity after the contributors have a chance to pick-up or donate their items.
“The last weekend of the sale the items go half price depending on the seller’s discretion. Items left after pick-up are donated to charity,” Drummond says. “We have donated to several charities around our community including Restoration Rome, Crisis Pregnancy Center of Rome, Mountain Top Experience, Hospitality House, many foster homes, local schools and Children’s Home in Cedartown. Also, donations of shoes were given to Trinity United Methodist youth group to send to villages in Africa. Not only do donations help children locally but in other parts of the world.”
For more information about Twice is Nice visit their website at www.twiceisnice.biz or search “Twice is Nice” on Facebook. Times and dates for the sales change based on the availability of space, so be sure to keep an eye on the website www.twiceisnice.biz or Facebook.