Muncie Origins: Local store 'refreshes' old furniture

<p>Refresh is a locally owned custom furniture store in downtown Muncie. The store opened three years ago under a different owner. One of the things customers can take part in is making their own Ball jar with various accessories. The store also hosts a “BYOF” class for customers to bring their own furniture to paint. DN PHOTO EMMA ROGERS</p>

Refresh is a locally owned custom furniture store in downtown Muncie. The store opened three years ago under a different owner. One of the things customers can take part in is making their own Ball jar with various accessories. The store also hosts a “BYOF” class for customers to bring their own furniture to paint. DN PHOTO EMMA ROGERS

Register for workshops, order furniture and put in custom orders on Refresh's website.

Refresh also advertises promotions and features pictures of the furniture on its Facebook page.

Editor's note: Muncie Origins is a Ball State Daily News series profiling various businesses that originated in Muncie. 

Upbeat music greets those entering Refresh custom furniture store. Dozens of clocks faintly tick in unison, creating a calm vibe. Bright, colorful furniture pops against the wooden, rustic feel of the rest of the room.

The focus is on the furniture — all of it is hand painted in the store. Each piece has been repurposed and given new life.

“[Our goal] is to be able to repurpose things and to give the community a great product and great service. We want to keep things from going to the landfill,” said Connie Beaty, the store manager. 

Refresh opened three years ago and was located on High Street, but had a different owner. 

In 2012, Lucas and Rebekah Hanna purchased the business and moved it to its new location on Main Street in downtown Muncie.

Beaty has worked for Refresh for two and a half years, beginning as an employee. With an interior design degree from Ball State, she began as a painter in the store.

“It amazes me where we were at two and half years ago compared to where we are now,” Beaty said. 

The business has evolved from simply selling repurposed furniture to include selling custom paint and teaching painting classes.

The classes range from beginner to advanced and teach how to use the chalk and clay paint that is used on each piece of furniture in the store. 

Refresh also offers a “BYOF” class, or bring your own furniture. In this class, customers can bring in any size piece that fits through the door and refresh it with the supplied paint.

Once a month, a “make and take” craft workshop is offered where a new Pinterest-inspired project is taught. 

“This is a great class for a girls’ night,” Beaty said.

Beaty teaches the classes herself. 

“It’s a great creative outlet. We’re able to try different stuff a lot. I think that’s part of the evolution of Refresh — we’ve been able to do different things and figure out what does and doesn’t work. We’re still learning,” she said.

Employee Jannell Summers has worked at Refresh for a few months and recently made it her full-time job.

“If you saw this furniture on the side of the road, you’d think you had no use for it. So we clean it and repair it,” Summers said as she cleaned an old coat rack from a kids’ day care to repurpose.

“[I love] turning stuff that looks like old junk into beautiful new pieces that people will get to enjoy for a long, long time. Stuff that otherwise would have gone to the dump,” Summers said.

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