WALLA WALLA - The paint is still wet on the seemingly endless stretch of walls at the old Country Store Consignment Center on a recent Saturday morning when Kyla Greiner turns her attention to the front end of the building.
"We'll have all new carpet and baseboards. And the bathrooms will be updated. And right now you can hear they're repairing the roof," she exclaims over the sporadic banging above the ceiling. "We're also getting a new sprinkler system and new windows."
Then she pauses to consider anything she might have left out.
"Basically it's a total facelift,"
The 33,000-square-foot behemoth of a building at 2205 Isaacs Ave. has long represented a convergence of old and new with previously owned items from households, attics and closets on display for potential new owners.
That old-and-new model now holds true for the operation itself. Closed a year ago under former owner Claudia Fowler, the decades-old business is finding new life under Greiner, who plans to re-open this spring.
The Walla Walla native returned to the community in January to re-open the store in the building owned by her parents, Bill and Sharie Greiner. For the last eight years she's lived in Western Washington, where her various jobs included preschool teacher, nanny and sales representative.
Her desire to return to her Eastern Washington roots was perfectly timed as the building's duration on the market approached the one-year mark with no serious tenant prospects. In addition to the size of the building and the economic climate, a number of improvements were required for occupancy.
Under the watchful supervision of her Spaniel mix Chester, Greiner has spent weeks clearing out, cleaning up and getting ready for a new twist on the consignment shop where some of her earliest shopping memories were created.
"I remember buying my bell-bottoms right over there," she reminisced, pointing to a corner on the upper level of the building.
More than 4,000 consignors offered their items through the store over the nearly six decades of business before last year's closing. The store was not only an Eastgate attraction in its heyday, but also a local institution for buying and selling wares.
Greiner was reminded of this during a conversation at a baby shower, where a friend's mother recalled buying dyed chickens at Easter at the retailer.
"The Country Store's been around forever and ever," Greiner said.
In her version of the operation - which will be known as The Country Store Consignment & Antique Mall and is expected to be open as early as late April - there will be less emphasis on clothing and more on quality furniture, jewelry, household items and more.
Sections of the cavernous space can be occupied by those who want to operate individual booths. She expects to operate Wednesday through Sunday with one day during the week reserved specifically for accepting consignment inventory, which she expects to track through a software program.
"I think the hardest part for me will be stopping myself from being tempted to buy (the inventory)," Greiner confessed. "I love a good deal."
Greiner said a number of people have already stopped by the building to offer their items for consignment.
She's juggling that with the improvements - including painting over the yellow that ran rampant through the building. Her parents have been huge influences as mentors, she said. Her mom has assisted with the painting - "I might have to treat her to a massage after this," Greiner said.
Her dad offers his advice for the operation. He plans to add a decorative vintage wagon out front.
"There's a lot of potential here," he said. "It's just a matter of being creative."