For the longest time, Spencer’s Antiques was an integral part of the Hillyard secondhand and antique dealer community. Located at Garland Avenue and Market Street since 2003, Spencer’s was known to antique and secondhand aficionados for its selection there.
But as the state began making room for the north-south freeway owner Kay Kallenbach lost the 8,500-square-foot building, and she wasn’t quite sure what to do next.
“We knew we had to find another place to lease, but where do you start looking?” Kay Kallenbach said. “The state was very good to us, they were so helpful, but it was still hard to find a place.”
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Spencer’s is celebrating its grand reopening in the former Unfinished Furniture store on Division Street with deals, sales, treats and a gift wrapping section to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank.
“It’s an amazing space; it’s just great,” said Tina Kallenbach, Kay’s daughter, who helps her mom run the store. There are 75 antique, secondhand and gift dealers at Spencer’s new 14,200-square-foot store – more than twice as large as the Market Street location.
“We had 36 dealers that came down here with us,” said Kay Kallenbach. “If you can imagine: all the dealers packed up their stuff, moved it here in trucks, and we set up the grid wall and they put everything back up.”
That all happened between Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. and Oct. 1, when they opened their doors at 10 a.m.
Karen Hudson, a longtime customer, has nothing but good things to say about Spencer’s and the move.
“I’m so impressed with the new store, the helpful spirit of the owner Kay and her daughter and the other ladies who work there,” Hudson wrote in an e-mail. “This dedicated group of women has made it a success because of their hard work, attention to detail and great customer service. I think they really enjoy what they are doing. How many people can say that nowadays?”
Kay Kallenbach got hired as a manager at Spencer’s in 2005. She’d been a caregiver to her oldest daughter, who had recently died.
“To begin with I was just a flea-marketer at Spencer’s,” she said, laughing. “You know, I didn’t know the first thing about antiques or collectibles. I still don’t. That’s what we have our dealers for; they know all that.”
When Spencer’s came up for sale, Kay Kallenbach made the jump to becoming her own boss and a business owner.
“I bought the business on Oct. 23 in 2008. There were 12 dealers to start with, but I quickly grew it to 48,” said Kay Kallenbach, adding that she couldn’t have done it without the help of Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs which provides small business loans and help small entrepreneurs.
“SNAP was so beneficial. I can’t say enough good things about them,” she said. “They have programs for you if you are low-income and if you are a woman business owner – they were amazing to me.”
Tina Kallenbach does the books for the business.
“We are so happy about this change, but we also work hard – it’s 24/7 most of the time,” said Tina Kallenbach. “We are so lucky though because we love what we do. We like being here.”
Kay Kallenbach said the first time she looked at the building the lease didn’t work out, but the second time it did.
“Things have just fallen into place for us, we are so fortunate,” she said.
What’s her best advice to women business owners taking the plunge?
“Believe in what you do and don’t give up, think positive,” said Kay Kallenbach. “And when someone has faith in me I give them more than 100 percent. Work hard, you’ve got to do that when someone believes in you.”