When she’s at work, Cheri Russell feels right at home.

As the Coffee Shop Floor Associate at Stuff Etc. in Cedar Rapids, Russell spends her days helping customers find great deals on accessories and furniture for their home, at a fraction of the retail price.

“There is such a great variety of stuff here at Stuff Etc.,” she said. “You can’t come in here and not buy something. I am always offering to get carts for customers who are walking around with their hands full. When people see the original price and the Stuff Etc. price they realize they are getting a great deal. This really is quality consignment.”

Russell has worked for Stuff Etc. for more than 12 years, having started out in the Coralville location and them transferring to the Cedar Rapids location when her family moved to the north end of the Corridor. She’s worked in nearly every role within the store and has grown close with her fellow associates.

“I really enjoy all of my co-workers,” she said. “They are like my family because this place is my home away from home.” Russell noted that her daughter also worked at Stuff Etc. from the age of 14 to 20 and made life-long friends.

Perhaps her favorite role at Stuff Etc. is her current work in the store’s coffee shop.

“Working in the coffee shop is my favorite role because I love to cook and I also love interacting with the customers,” she said, noting that many shoppers are surprised to find there is a coffee shop located within the consignment store.

“Every day I have customers come in and say they didn’t even know this side of the building was open let alone that there is a coffee shop here,” said Russell. “But we feel it just makes the shopping experience even better if you can grab an espresso drink or a smoothie or a giant cookie while you shop.  

“I have wonderful customers and lots of regulars who stop in. This is just a really fun atmosphere.”

Since the Cedar Rapids location expanded last September, Russell said the overall shopping experience has been enhanced in the home department in particular.

“This space is just amazing,” she said. “It has a great flow and it makes it very easy to shop for books, housewares and furniture.”

Perhaps her favorite role at Stuff Etc. is her current work in the store’s coffee shop.

“Working in the coffee shop is my favorite role because I love to cook and I also love interacting with the customers,” she said, noting that many shoppers are surprised to find there is a coffee shop located within the consignment store.

“Every day I have customers come in and say they didn’t even know this side of the building was open let alone that there is a coffee shop here,” Russell said. “But we feel it just makes the shopping experience even better if you can grab an espresso drink or a smoothie or a giant cookie while you shop.  

“I have wonderful customers and lots of regulars who stop in. This is just a really fun atmosphere.”

Since the Cedar Rapids location expanded last September, Russell said the overall shopping experience has been enhanced in the home department in particular.

“This space is just amazing,” she said. “It has a great flow and it makes it very easy to shop for books, housewares and furniture.”

Every morning when she comes into work, Russell gets the coffee shop up and going and then heads out on to the sales floor to get things ready for the day’s shoppers.

“First I usually straighten up the books because people really like to pick those up. Then I go straighten housewares and pull out any clearance items,” she said. “Housewares are products that sell really well here at Stuff. There are just so many great deals.

“I buy a ton of stuff myself. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve redecorated a room for a fraction of the cost.”

Russell said that another favorite part of her job is working on displays throughout the home department.

“I am in charge of a particular wall and I go around and pull things for display that look nice together and that I think will sell fast,” she said. “And they do sell fast!”

Her days, Russell said, go fast too.

“It’s a full day when I am here,” she said, “but it’s such a fun place to be.”

TOP for your home

WINNER: Stuff Etc.
LOCATION: 252 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids
CONTACT: (319) 373-2380; shopstuffetc.com
TIED: Phelan’s Interiors, 728 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids; (319) 363-9634; phelansinteriors.com
RUNNERS-UP: Brambles Gift Shoppe, 1200 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids; (319) 362-1313
ONLINE: To view the Top Shelf magazine, go to Hooplanow.com/topshelf
PICK IT UP: Top Shelf is available at Hy-Vee, Casey’s and Fareway stores in the Corridor.