Local Couple Takes Pride in Consignment and Household Goods Shop  

Writer / Lois Tomaszewski
Photography Provided 

If you look for it, there’s a good chance you can find what you need without having to travel long distances. Once Upon A Person, owned by Ray and Marlene Miller, is just the kind of place to help with such a task.

“I had always dreamed of working in or owning a store,” Marlene Miller says. “I like to organize and help people out. It makes me feel good to have something here that people need.”

Once Upon A Person is both a consignment store for the Amish community and a general household goods store. For many in the community, it saves a long trip to town for needed supplies. The store is located behind the house Miller grew up in on West 1100 North.

Once Upon A Person

Baby items and household goods are also available in the consignment section of the store. There is also a large selection of used Amish clothing in children and adult sizes.

Miller says consignment provides an inexpensive way for people in the community to have what they need. It also helps the local families receive some income for clothes and items they no longer need.

New fabric, sewing notions, buttons and thread fill up a section of the store. Other shelves are stocked with handkerchiefs, hair ties, socks, gloves and hats. Gift items and cards are part of the inventory, and her customers can also find household necessities like kitchen utensils.

The store’s toy section, which is 5-year-old Myra Miller’s favorite, includes Melissa & Doug toys, books, puzzles, games and fun stuff to do. The Millers’ only child is a good helper in the store according to Myra and her mom.

“My customers come in for the used items, but they can buy new items too,” Miller says.

Once Upon A Person

Precious Melodies clocks are popular with customers. The chimes in the clocks can be traded out for other tones and chimes, such as holiday melodies. The clocks come in various styles, including traditional and decor-specific.

Roni bags are also popular with customers. These are insulated lunch boxes that can handle both hot and cold beverages and food. 

Miller opened the store in March of 2021. Her time in the store is spent organizing the stock and keeping the store clean. Those are two of her priorities. She wants her customers to enjoy shopping in a clean environment with quality items.

Her attention to quality applies to the consignment items that she offers. She is careful to take only the items that are in good condition.

“I want to keep quality clothing in here that people want, so people will continue to come back and look through it,” she says. “I want to keep what will move.”

Marlene and Ray will mark nine years of marriage in June. Family is important to the Millers.

She is thankful that she can still take time away from the store, such as on those Wednesdays when she gets together with her mother and sisters-in-law. Meeting with her family members regularly, as she did before she became a store owner, is very important to her.

“It’s wonderful to know that I have someone who can watch the store for me,” she says.

Once Upon A Person

Becoming an owner of a store has been a positive experience for Miller. She did not have any experience, so even learning to operate the cash register was among the skills she has mastered in the last year. It is a task she enjoys.

“I do enjoy the people who come in here and talk with me,” she says. 

She also enjoys getting in the products that people need. Miller finds out what her customers are looking for, and is always on the lookout for new products to bring into her store. She will even make a special order to accommodate a need, such as the proper fabric color for a bride’s upcoming wedding. That means planning so that she has enough supplies that will be available in time.

Visit Once Upon A Person at 8638 West 1100 North, southwest of Nappanee. Call them at 574-354-8452. 

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