In a fluorescent-lit, nearly empty former Walmart in the heart of Maumelle, Rhea Lana Riner was dressed casually, perched at a folding table with a laptop in tow, preparing for her company’s first consignment event of the year in Arkansas. The former Neighborhood Market off Maumelle Blvd. is the stage for Rhea Lana’s of Greater Little Rock’s event.
The empty building will soon be filled with hundreds of thousands of items ranging from newborn to big kid clothes, to books, toys, and more. Riner said she expects about 1,500 consignors at this event, and about 5,000 shoppers.
But before the huge venue, the thousands of items, and the hundreds of consignors, there was a rather humble beginning.
“My husband left a corporate career and went to work for a nonprofit organization, so our income took quite a dramatic nose dive. And I had three small children under the age of four,” she recalled of 1997.
“At the time, I just really wasn’t satisfied with the second-hand shopping opportunities out there.” So, Riner said she took it into her own hands, holding a consignment sale in her family’s Conway, Ark. living room with 11 friends and three racks of clothes.
It was this sale that prompted Rhea Lana’s to officially begin. Being the same demographic of who the consignment sales were geared for, she shared with THV11 that identifying with other moms is how she learned to make her sales unique.
Riner explained, “It doesn’t seem like a big deal for things to be computerized now, but if you think back to 1997, when I had my first sale, we didn’t all carry around phones and computers in our hands. We decided to computerize it. That’s really been our niche. We wanted moms to have this wonderful shopping experience with second-hand things.”