Lindsey Clontz brings bluegrass flair to Ellie's on Main consignment shop
Lindsey Clontz, a 22-year-old who's fresh out-of-college is the new owner of “Ellie’s on Main” consignment store in Waynesville.
She's also a local bluegrass and gospel musician who is bringing her own unique personality into the shop as she sings a bluegrass or gospel tune in between helping customers around the whimsical, inspirational pink and lime green themed colored store.
A favorite is “Trains I Missed” by her favorite bluegrass band, Haywood County’s own “Balsam Range.” “The song talks about things you might have missed, but if you hadn’t missed them, you wouldn’t be where you are today,” Clontz noted.
Ironically, that song is an accurate snapshot of her young adult life.
After graduating from Tuscola High School in 2008 and watching many of her college freshmen friends begin studying nursing or education, she opted to “ride her own train” when she studied at East Tennessee State University in their bluegrass, old time and country music program, the only program of its kind in the world – and her true passion. Within that program, she studied about the Appalachian music she grew up singing and met many of her musical heroes.
“Many people asked me, ‘Uhh, why are you studying that?’ but I just told them it was my passion and I didn’t want to ask myself 20 years from now, ‘Why didn’t I do what I wanted to do?’” she said.
She met bluegrass band “Dailey & Vincent” and bluegrass favorites Sam Bush and Tony Rice. She also took voice lessons from Jason Leek, who sang with “Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver,” and Rhonda Vincent’s daughter, Sally Berry, who is married to well-known fiddler Hunter Berry, plus studied guitar under Brandon Green, a well-known banjo picker in West Virginia.
“I loved telling people in the program that I came from the same town as ‘Balsam Range’ because they thought that was so cool,” she said.
After graduating this past December with her bachelor’s degree in music and waving goodbye to many of her Nashville-bound colleagues who were hoping to land a musical career, once again, she “hopped another train” when she decided to come back home to Haywood County and join her parents, Bill and Sandy Clontz, in operating their family business during this season of her life, while continuing to pursue her love of music.
“I just didn’t feel the pull in that direction to Nashville right now,” she explained.
In the shop, she likes helping customers find unique items at a good price. “Consignment stores are becoming more and more popular these days,” she said. On any given day, she sells a myriad of items from a variety of local consigners like men’s, women’s and children’s gently used and name-brand clothes, Prom dresses, electric fireplaces, bedroom suites, sectional sofas, home décor, antiques, Vera Bradley purses, and local handcrafted items like quilts, scarves, toboggans, teacup lamps, picture frames and jewelry. She is currently accepting consignment items under 50/50 consignment contracts.
When customers asked her about the history of the business, she likes to tell them that the store got its name from a little girl named Ellie, daughter of Amanda Parton, one of the store’s previous owners.
“Ellie used to sit out front and sell lemonade,” said Clontz, who attends church with Ellie at Calvary Road Baptist Church. The store originally opened in May 2011 and was owned by Amanda Parton, Rena White and Courtney Parris before the Clontz family bought the store in October 2012.
One day, a customer in her 70s found a consignment gem when she spotted a child’s porcelain plate, a treasure to her because she had one at her grandmother’s house growing up and hadn’t been able to find one like it since.
“She was in tears when she found that,” said Clontz.
“Another guy came in wanting a rocking chair for his wife who just had a baby and another couple looked for two twin beds for their grandchildren and we were able help all of them out,” she added.
Clontz’s father, Bill Clontz, says he has always encouraged his daughter to think outside and box and pursue her passions.
“If you don’t ever take a chance, you will never know what could have happened,” said Bill Clontz, who opened up his own floor covering business in 1981.
While she knows there are going to be good days and bad days in business, a particular jar with TYL written on it gives her the determination to keep going even in the bad days. “Every time I make a sell, I put the sales tag in the TYL (Thank You Lord) jar,” she said. “That always keeps things in perspective.”
When Clontz looks into the future of the store, she sees adding her own bluegrass local flair even more into the downtown store by adding live bluegrass groups entertaining customers on the street, particularly during the warmer months. She can just hear her all-time favorite bluegrass song, “Carolina in the Pines,” sang on Main Street.
“I think the live music would be really cool,” she said.
As she looks back on her young adult life to some of those “trains” she might have missed, this young lady says she’s not missing them at all.
“Ellie’s on Main” is located on Waynesville’s Main Street across from the Haywood County Justice Center and open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To contact Clontz, call 246-0850, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or look up “Ellie’s on Main” on Facebook.