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‘Aunt Connie’ comes out of retirement for consignment shop

September 30, 2018

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Pull into the parking lot of Aunt Connie’s Consignment shop on Hartman Run Road, and the front door will likely be open before you get out of the car.

Walk into the new store, and expect a hug from the proprietor. And maybe an offer of a donut and cold drink.

Connie Gennoy was 48 before she worked outside the home. That’s because she was a stay-at-home mom.

Since then, she’s had a few jobs and retired more than once.

She’s out of retirement again. This time, to welcome shoppers, browsers and friends to her new consignment shop.

Most anything can be found in the first floor of the two-story modular home — everything from old telephones and glassware to baskets and pillows. And she has enough to fill the second floor, but it’s rented as an apartment — at least for now.

Gennoy’s nephew, Denny Johnson, owns the yellow house with fuschia shutters. It was built 12 years ago and housed a hot spot until recently.

“He called me and said, ‘I want you to put something in there,’ ” Gennoy said.

“I said, ‘I’m 77, I’m retired.’ ”

But she took a couple of days to think about the possibilities and before she had made her decision, Johnson showed up with a sign he had made.

It’s the one that hangs on the front of her store: Aunt Connie’s Consignment Shop. He knew before she did she’d take on the challenge.

“Anytime anyone wants me to do something, I say, ‘ohhh .’ and then I go ahead and do it,” Gennoy said. “I love people, and I like to be busy.”

Gennoy married right after high school, had two sons and stayed busy with the home and volunteering at their schools.

Then, about 29 years ago, the boys were grown, and she decided to join the workforce. She went to work at different places. Her sister owned Sunnyside Superette in the early 1990s, and she worked there for a while. In 1994, she helped run Stadium Market on Willowdale Road. When Austin’s on Stewart Street re-opened, she was asked to lend a hand there.

All that experience — and her love for home decorating — led her to Aunt Connie’s.

She has 15 consigners, but a lot of the merchandise is hers.

“I cleaned out my house,” she said with a laugh.

“I’m kind of learning,” she said of the business. “I didn’t know about this location, but I’ve been amazed. I’ve met so many nice people.”

And “I usually hug everybody.”

Tammy Thrasher is one of those who got a hug from Gennoy. She’s a Big Foot researcher who does T-shirts, mugs and tea towels. She was one of the first people to stop in to see what Aunt Connie’s was all about.

“I walked in and everybody hugged me, and I hugged back,” Thrasher said. “I was like, ‘I’m family.’ ”

Thrasher is one of those 15 consigners in the shop, and she stops by often just to chat and visit. That’s the kind of place Aunt Connie’s is — one you can just visit with others, whether you plan to buy something or not.

“It reminds me of Grandma’s house,” said Eddie Gennoy, one of Connie’s sons. Her other son, Jeff, died about eight years ago.

“I couldn’t be prouder of her,” Eddie Gennoy said of his mom. He helped her get the shop in shape to open and works with her about every day.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “We don’t see it as work. It’s more like socializing.

“I think it’s exceeded what she expected. She’s happier now than I’ve seen her in years.”

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Information from: The Dominion Post, http://www.dominionpost.com

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