Ministry takes many hands and feet to do the work of the mission. That is something that Rebecca Healey knows all too well. When she and her husband Trip planted Ridge Church, they knew that God was leading them to minister to the Wetumpka area and beyond, but it was going to require hiring people to make the church plant grow. So, she and the church team got creative in order to meet the financial needs of the growing congregation. That creativity brought about a way to fund the church staff and brought the residents of the River Region a place to find home furnishings and decor at a fraction of the price at New Leaf Consignment in Wetumpka, Alabama.
“I have always been a bit of a thrifty, or cheap as I’m told, person, so yard sales, estate sales, auctions, and kids’ seasonal sales have always been more like hobbies to me than anything,” shares Healey. “I started at age 18 owning booths in flea markets, buying the weekly bulletin board and placing ads, and selling items online when Craig’s List was a little more popular and there was no “Facebook Marketplace”.
“When we planted Ridge Church in 2013, we needed a way to supplement our income, so my resell business just grew from there. When we adopted our daughter in 2016, we raised more than $20,000 solely through resell and kid’s clothing consignment. So in 2017 when we got ready to hire more people at Ridge Church and we didn’t want to spend the money donated to the church to do it, we decided to get creative. New Leaf Consignment was born.
This place was born with a desire to support the staff who were also in ministry, to support the vision of our local outreach, and to grow in a way that Ridge Church would never have to be the only income that our family and our staff families live on…so that we can give away more money donated. This Scripture is a huge part of that vision:
‘We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.’”2 Thessalonians 3:7-8
The store has been a good fit for the church and ministry within the community. “We felt that if we could work a business during the week, where we get to do ministry on a daily basis and support our staff families, then we could be a blessing in so many ways. We talk about business as a mission mindset, and we look at our business as a way to do ministry every day, even when we aren’t gathering as a church,” Healey said.
Many people have not shopped in a consignment store and may expect more of a thrift store environment, where there is an ever changing, eclectic mix of donated items when they arrive.
“New Leaf is a consignment store because it is a place where you can sell your items and the store makes a portion of the proceeds, rather than a thrift store where you donate your items. We do however have some people who donate their items as well, and 100% of those proceeds go to our Ridge Church ‘Show It’ Fund,” explained Healey.
“That fund was started in 2016 when we adopted our daughter, Showy. We said we didn’t want to just talk about ministry or generosity, rather we wanted to SHOW IT. We use our Show It fund to bless people in our community in numerous ways, through local non-profits, home renovations, food handouts, gifts for kids, taking care of local educators, and so much more.”
Healey said that New Leaf is much more than a place to buy quality items while helping the community.
“Ridge Church was planted with a vision to create a church with the unchurched in mind. We wanted to create a place where people who either had never been to church or had experienced something difficult in church would feel comfortable to show up and bring someone.
When we started New Leaf, we knew it would be a place where people could come buy and sell their items, support the ministry, but also it’s been a place where we have had the opportunity to pray with, cry with, counsel, and give away more furniture than I can count.
I graduated with a counseling degree over 10 years ago, and I’ve used it more in my three years at New Leaf doing business than ever before. We encounter people going through so much trauma and so many transitions, from losing loved ones, to losing jobs and needing cash, going through a divorce, sending kids off to college, getting their first house, selling a large house to consolidate, getting married and combining households, and so much more. So not only have we been able to further the ministry of Ridge Church, but we have been able to serve and care for people who will never walk through the doors on a Sunday morning.”
Healey also said that shopping with New Leaf not only supports ministry, but the community as a whole. “I have always been a huge supporter of local business, and we tell people to shop local all the time. When you shop local, you support families who are paying their bills. When you shop local, you support our local economy and school systems. When you shop local, you support friends. When you shop New Leaf, you support friends and family who are doing ministry together, as well as the local community who will be given thousands of dollars in food and furniture and support this year.”
For people wanting to downsize or just freshen up their spaces, Healey said consignment shopping is the way to go. “If you have furniture or decor that you want to sell, think of us next time. I think that our best selling feature is that we will come do all the labor. Our guys will come pick up your furniture, bring it to the store, and sell it for you! No strangers in your home, except us, and no hassle. Plus, we offer trades so if you’ve been looking to change things up but don’t have the budget to do so, then you can talk to us about doing some swaps. We love a good trade-in as it helps everyone find something NEW to them.
During the pandemic we have also seen a LOT of people doing cleanouts and updates, and if you haven’t tried Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan, then you are missing out. You can update your furniture without breaking the bank. We have seen people do some incredible work over the last year, and people have transformed their home with a few cans of paint and wax. If you’ve never tried Chalk Paint, then let us convince you that anyone can do it. You don’t need to be an artist to update your home. We teach workshops, and we even do free in-store consultations.”
New Leaf is looking forward to spring and Easter Weekend, Healey said. “Our next BIG Events take place Easter Weekend! Join us at New Leaf Consignment on Saturday, April 3rd for our Spring Cleaning Easter Clearance and Sidewalk Sale and at Wetumpka High School on Sunday April 4th for our Easter Together Service at Ridge Church. Services start at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and we would love for your family to stop by and worship with us.”
If you are interested in learning more about New Leaf Consignment, Healey said it’s as simple as reaching out through email or looking them up on Facebook. “We strive to make our consignment and buyout process as smooth and hassle free as possible. If you’d like to sell something with us, just email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook at facebook.com/newleafwetumpka! Don’t miss our weekly Facebook Live Videos at NOON on Fridays. We give a Storewide Tour and highlight our new arrivals each week. We also give away $50 or more gift cards with every Facebook Live! Honestly our Friday Facebook Lives have become our largest way to sell items since the Pandemic hit, as people shop right from their computers and then contact us to buy immediately.”
Katie Blair is a freelance writer who has a deep interest in sharing stories about everyday people living extraordinary lives for Christ. She lives in Wetumpka, Alabama with her husband Steve, and their dog, Rosie. She is the mom of two young adult children and serves as a children’s ministry partner with Frazer Church.