MARYSVILLE — Jeff and Renae Allen were no strangers to waiting in line at the Marysville Community Food Bank, so when their fortunes had recovered enough that they no longer required its services, they started think about how they could support the organization that had given them so much aid when they needed it.
“We’ve been thinking of doing this for at least five years now,” Renae Allen said after the official ribbon-cutting for “Aunt Nae’s Attic” on 1402 State Ave. on Friday, Oct. 19. “When Jeff’s stepfather passed away and left us some money, we decided that we needed to do this now, since we’ve been living in Marysville since 1999.”
The Allens’ collectables and thrift store was welcomed to the neighborhood by Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring and City Council members Steve Muller, Carmen Rasmussen, Michael Stevens and Rob Toyer, who joined Marysville Community Food Bank Director Dell Deierling in taking part in the ribbon-cutting.
Not only are the Allens collecting food for the Food Bank at their store, but they’re also accepting donations of reusable household items, clothes and toys, so that they can give a portion of the profits to the Food Bank from selling those donated items.
“This was all my wife’s idea, and it’s a great idea,” Jeff Allen said. “After we got caught up on our bills, we just said, ‘Let’s do it.’ They helped us, so now it’s our time to help them.”
Renae Allen explained that a friend of Jeff’s had donated a great deal of his belongings to the Allens when he moved, giving them enough goods to start the store’s stock, which the couple then supplemented with donations from other friends and family members.
“It was about a 35-year collection,” said Renae Allen, whose nickname of “Aunt Nae” dates back to her days of selling merchandise on eBay. “So we are packed.”
“I wish these folks nothing but the best,” Nehring said. “The Food Bank is hurting for supplies, so I’d love to rally more support for them as we head into the holiday season.”
“This is all part of the community support system,” Deierling said. “People can purchase useful items here at a fraction of the cost. Especially in this economy, we really need to make our dollars stretch.”
Since opening their doors close to a month before their official grand opening, Renae Allen has seen dishes, cups and pans become very popular at her shop and she’s enlisted her and Jeff’s kids, Austin and Amanda, as well as Jeff’s mother Veronica in their efforts to keep the store tidy and well-stocked.
“We’ve raised our family here,” Renae Allen said. “We know what it’s like to not be able to feed your kids. We’ve been there, which is why we’re collecting year-round now.”
Aunt Nae’s Attic is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.