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Family partnership makes ‘Good Cents’

Dumpster diving, antiquing and spending entire days searching through anything and everything at yard and estate sales, flea markets and wherever else one may find something good for a good price is a family tradition for Tim and Timmy Chapman.

The father and son pair operates Good Cents Thrift on Center Street in downtown Ironton. Timmy said his love of old and inexpensive started as a child, when his dad would wake him up Saturday mornings to go treasure hunting.

“Most kids hated waking up early on the weekends, but not me,” Timmy said. “It was always exciting to get up and go out because you never knew what you would find. Dad taught me how to find deals and know what was worth something.”

Timmy left home and joined the Air Force after finishing school. He said he never forgot the lessons taught to him by his father and never had any trouble finding whatever he needed no matter where he was. After that stage of his life was over, he came back home and he and his father did what they did best-finding and selling.

The duo did the flea market circuit for a couple of years, but Tim said the packing and unpacking ended up being too much of a hassle. Shortly after their search for a storefront began, they happened upon the building on Center Street and they have been going strong since August 2012.

“Business was really good at first, but around December things almost stopped,” Tim said. “During the holidays people want to buy new stuff.”

Timmy agreed with his father, saying business has picked back up after the multi-month slump, and now the new business owners will expect that next holiday season.

While they would like to find a million dollar rare item like on “Antiques Roadshow,” Timmy and Tim agreed at the end of the day they are happy making enough to eat and pay rent. For them, it’s more about the hunt than the score.

“We like to dig,” Tim said. “So do our customers. A lot of the time people will come in looking for one thing and leave with everything else.”

Tim said potential customers will not find neat organized sections in Good Cents, because a little digging is part of the charm.

And charm is a large part of the business, Timmy said. He said he has spent hours with customers, just chatting or sharing coffee or pizza.

“We want customers to like being here,” Timmy said. “I used to have some tables and chairs set up near the door and would have people come in to drink coffee and talk. We had to do away with that setup though to fit in more furniture to sell.”

Good business may have forced the removal of the café-style seating, but Timmy said people are still more than welcome to come hang out. He said one of the things he likes the most about the job is just talking with people.

It’s that openness and flexibility that makes them successful, Tim said. Prices and hours of operation are both subjective when you run your own business.

“We like to work with people,” Tim said. “We trade, haggle, barter, whatever works best for the customer. We aren’t here to hurt anybody. We want people to get what they want.

“I have sold stuff even after we were closed. One night I was just sitting here playing a video game when some people walked in. Now, I could have said we were closed, but I didn’t – and they ended up walking out of here with about $30 worth of stuff.”

Good Cents’ dedication to getting the customers’ what they want is not limited to what they have in stock, Timmy said. Their slogan is, “If we don’t have it, we will find it,” He said they keep a list of requested items they stay on the lookout for when out and about searching for new items to stock the store.

Tim and Timmy have decades of thrifting knowledge between them, and both agree they enjoy sharing that knowledge to help the customers get what they are looking for.

The shop is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. But as Tim said, if you see the lights on, feel free to see if anyone is there no matter the time.