When the Kennishes’ home began to look like an episode of “Hoarders,” the Federal Way family knew it was time to open their thrift store.
In fact, the A&E reality TV show also served as a source for inspiration when it came to picking the second-hand store’s name.
“As a family, we came up with several different names, and we voted on a couple,” store owner Michael Kennish said. “And then it came down to pulling one out of a hat because we were down to three and we couldn’t decide.”
“The Hoarders Attic” won.
“People think it’s really cool, and, when they walk in here, they can see why we call it The Hoarders Attic,” he said.
In December, Michael and Kristy Kennish opened their thrift shop in a small building complex primarily occupied by mostly-Korean restaurants just off Pacific Highway South.
The items in the store range from a giant white stuffed polar bear toy to a $250 saxophone.
“A long time ago, we started out just doing yard sales to help support our three boys in the Boy Scout program, and we were picking up items off of Craigslist for free,” Michael Kennish said. “Family members would donate, and then all of a sudden people in the neighborhood started giving us stuff, and then people from out of the area would come to our yard sales and would give us stuff to the point where we started to fill up a whole shed.”
The blended family of three teenage boys – two of them twins – and a daughter didn’t just start the store as a way to make money from their piling furniture, clothes and stuff.
Their son Shaun McCartney, one of their twin boys, has cerebral palsy.
“Our goal is to eventually, after two years of business, be able to apply for a small-business loan and actually buy a building that’s got an apartment setup attached, so that way when Shaun is able to live on his own, he’ll be able to work and live in the same place,” Michael Kennish said of his stepson. “He’ll be somewhere close to a grocery store where he can use the Access bus to get to the grocery store because he won’t be driving due to a seizure disorder, but he’ll be set for life at that point.”
Kristy Kennish, who works at the Department of Health and is also going to school for her master’s degree in social work, helps out with the store on evenings and weekends. Michael Kennish is there seven days a week, as he is currently not working because he is on disability for cubital tunnel syndrome in his elbows, but his children – especially McCartney – help out when they’re not in school.
“It is fun being here because it helps me learn how to do money in the cash register,” McCartney said. “It’s fun spending some time with my dad.”
At about three months old, The Hoarders Attic already has a surplus of inventory with plenty of eclectic items, such as a saxophone for $249 or a long board for $99.
As a way to show support, the Kennishes have discounted items by 20 percent on “Senior Sundays” for people 60 years and older, “Military Mondays” for veterans and those in the military, and “First Responder Fridays” for firefighters, police officers, EMTs and paramedics.
“We’re here to try to help our community as much as we want to help our son,” Michael Kennish said. “I’m not taking any money. I volunteer my time down here.”
The Hoarders Attic, 33324 Pacific Highway S. Suite 201B, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week, however it closes from 1:30-3:30 p.m. each day for lunch. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/TheHoardersAttic or follow on Twitter @HoardersAttic.