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Just Seconds taps into 'general store' market

August 30, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

America really is the land of opportunity, says new business owner Olga Leippi-Amatucci.

The Hagerstown resident, who emigrated from Germany to the United States when she was 6 years old, sees her opportunity in second-hand goods.

Leippi-Amatucci, 50, said her new thrift shop, Just Seconds Thrift Place, is a relatively low-risk way to learn the ins and outs of business ownership.

Just Seconds opened Aug. 9 at 22 Wayside Ave. in Hagerstown, where St. John's Episcopal Church ran a second-hand store called The Turnover Shop from 1952 to 1997.

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Leippi-Amatucci's shop sells an array of second-hand goods, including clothing and accessories, furniture, housewares, baskets, knickknacks, toys, exercise equipment and holiday decorations.

"Really, we're just a general store back to the mentality of the early days," she said.

The merchandise is a combination of items Leippi-Amatucci and her children owned and donations from friends and the community.

She'll continue to accept donations and shop auctions to replenish the stock, she said.

The idea to open a thrift shop took shape three years ago, when she crafted a name plaque she would keep in her kitchen for motivation, said Leippi-Amatucci, who used to run a small sewing business out of her home.

She said she's following in the footsteps of her immigrant father and brother in opening a business.

After finishing his commitment to work on a farm in Virginia in return for sponsorship to immigrate, her father opened a Volkswagen repair and sales business, Leippi-Amatucci said.

Her brother owns a dental laboratory in Bluefield, W.Va., which he operates with his family, she said.

Just Seconds is a real family-run business, said Leippi-Amatucci, who credits daughter Serena Leippi, 29, and son Patrick Amatucci, 12, with helping her get things up and running. There are no employees.

While Serena Leippi helps out when she can around her work schedule, Leippi-Amatucci said she ends up acting as sales clerk most of the time.

She'll be an employer soon enough if her plans for the next year work out.

Leippi-Amatucci said she's going to apply for a government grant for women business owners in order to buy a larger building in Hagerstown for a consignment store for furniture and household items.

She envisions two to four employees to do lifting, carrying and driving and two or three sales people.

Once she's confident in business, Leippi-Amatucci would like to explore other business ideas, including an upscale barbershop to tie in with her cosmetology background.

"My brain is constantly at work. I also have a few inventions I want to get marketed," she said. "I just feel the train is moving now and I can't put on the brakes."

Just Seconds is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Phone number is 240-420-0250.

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