For nearly three decades, Experienced Possessions — a small consignment shop in the village of Shawnee Hills that sells high-end used furniture — has strived to provide its customers with a therapeutic shopping experience. One of the owners who has had a hand in keeping that experience going has decided to step aside and retire.
“My husband says that we’re just a little social store that tries to sell some furniture,” said store owner Lisa Gilton. “It’s just the way the store is. I didn’t create the environment, it was here when I came here. I just continued in that spirit.”
Gilton said she is the second owner of the store, which originally opened in 1990 under the ownership of Sherie Netto.
“The name Experienced Possessions was hers,” Gilton said. “She had it for 17 years from 1990 until December 2007 when I bought it.”
Gilton said at the time she bought the store from Netto, she was an on and off customer of the store.
“I don’t live on this side of town, but if I was anywhere close to Sawmill Road, I came here,” she said. “I found lots of really nice furniture and talked to the owner, who was Sherie.”
Gilton said Netto always did great business, the furniture was always high quality, and everyone knew her. She said they weren’t friends, but they talked whenever she was in the store, which always seemed therapeutic.
Gilton recalled one Saturday afternoon when she stopped by and noticed some changes.
“Hey, what’s going on?” she asked Netto. “There is hardly any furniture in here. What’s happening?”
That’s when Gilton found out Netto was retiring and closing the store. She asked Netto if she had considered selling, which she had and gotten many offers to do so.
“She owned the store for 17 years, had built a good name, and she felt that if she sold the business the new owners would just screw it all up,” Gilton said.
But, Gilton said she was turning 50 and looking for something new to do, so she invited Netto to breakfast one morning.
“After breakfast, we were talking lawyers, agreements, deposits, and things like that,” she said. “That’s how it came about.”
Since taking over, Gilton has maintained the therapeutic atmosphere of the store.
“We don’t talk about things said in the store,” she said. “People come in with divorces and deaths. I don’t know how to say it, but it’s very therapeutic. It was therapeutic for me when I shopped here, and it’s very therapeutic for the other customers. We try to keep it that way.”
Gilton said sometimes people will come in and she can see the anguish on their face. For those moments, she keeps a couple of bottles of wine in the back.
“Could you use a glass of wine?” she’ll ask them.
Barbara Kadunc, a patron of the store, said that Gilton is always welcoming and personable, which has earned her a following of customers.
“She has many regulars, like myself, who drop in the store for conversation as well as for a look around,” she said. “Experienced Possessions has been a draw to the community mainly because it has a unique venue, and because Lisa is a friend to all.”
Gilton, now in her 11th year as owner, said she tries to keep it fun and light around the store.
“We consider ourselves a high-end furniture store,” she said. “We sell name brands like Century, Baker and Henderdon. We sell high-end brand name furniture. Our customers like that. We try to have some little quirky fun things that are a little different to give them a reason to come in.”
Gilton added the customers are fantastic and very supportive of her and the business. She said there have been times she has run errands and left the store in the hands of a customer while she was out.
“I don’t know how to say how wonderful this business has been and what it has done for the community,” she said. “It’s just a community place.”
However, she said it’s time to retire and travel with her husband. She will also be a grandmother soon, so she wants to be there for her daughter.
Gilton said she is selling the store and that she’ll work with the new owner on the transition, but come March 31, she is done. While a deal is in the works with a new owner, Gilton said she won’t make the new owner’s name public until the paperwork is complete.
“I think she is going to be a great addition to the store,” Gilton said. “She has been a customer, so she understands the store.”
Shawnee Hills Mayor Pat Monahan said out of a list of stores, Experienced Possessions is one of his favorites.
“It just breaks my heart,” Monahan said. “I consider her a friend.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.