SEASIDE — Roughly two years ago Kristin Loomis hit rock bottom while serving a 14-month prison sentence at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.
Today, Loomis, 34, is relishing a second chance and running her own business, 2nd Chance Bargains.
“I named it 2nd Chance Bargains because I always wanted to give back someway,” Loomis said, standing at the counter of her discount variety store, located at 1023 E. Broadway in Seaside.
Blessing and curse
Loomis was arrested and booked on drug charges in September 2016, her second offense after serving an 18-month sentence in 2011.
The arrest was a blessing and a curse.
“When the cuffs hit my wrists I could breathe again because I knew this time it was going to be different,” Loomis said.
After sentencing, the mother of four wondered if it would be the last time she would see her kids and ailing grandmother.
“My grandma had pneumonia while I was in there,” Loomis said. “I was worried about her dying while I was in there. She’s the glue to the family.”
After serving her time, Loomis was reunited with family and worked as a recovery advocate at a drug treatment center in Seaside.
The experience motivated Loomis to help those less fortunate. She considered opening a gym, daycare, salon, tattoo parlor and starting a mobile spray tanning business, but ran into roadblocks at each avenue.
“I got everything to start the business, but in Oregon you have to be a licensed aesthetician,” Loomis said. “I had it in my head that I didn’t want to work for the ‘man’ anymore.”’
While browsing a local community Facebook page, Loomis found her ideal opportunity.
“On Goonieville I had seen that Seaside Liquidators was for sale, a turnkey business for $5,000. It was what I had in my bank account because I just got my taxes, and I thought it was a great idea. I spoke to the owner who had a different property and asked if we wanted to check it out, so he brought us to this place and we fell in love right away.”
Initially, she co-operated the business as Hustle n’ Heart, a venture with Cynthia Gonzalez, but the partnership dissolved.
Loomis was again left at a crossroad.
“I sat on those stairs for a couple days and thought ‘What am I going to do? Am I going to give up? Do I just find a job and give up what I’ve worked on?”
Two days later she reopened the business as 2nd Chance Bargains.
“I knew the potential of the business,” Loomis said. “It was going to be my second chance.”
In June, roughly a month after the official grand opening, Loomis’ grandmother died. Loomis now strives to be a positive example for her kids while honoring her late grandmother’s legacy.
“I’ve messed up. I’ve made bad choices. But now I’m about being a positive example for my kids, just to show everyone that it’s possible, people don’t have to give up. I know now I can make a difference,” she said.
Relishing new role
Loomis is enjoying the customer interactions and doing a job that keeps her mind busy in a constructive way.
“There’s a variety of people that come in here,” she said. “I have regulars that like to check out the new stuff each week. I try to be helpful.”
Gently used and like-new clothing and inventory mostly comes from donations.
“I’ve a couple generous donators but one in particular brought six carloads a day for two weeks straight,” Loomis said. The inventory is divided into separate rooms, one dedicated for women, men and children.
A growing collection of Halloween costumes and accessories is among her most extensive departments.
“I have 21 totes of costumes. I’ve got everything from wigs to face paint. This is going to be Halloween town,” Loomis said.
Stressing over finances has been the biggest burden.
“It’s been a race to play catch up on all the past due balances. I’m not caught up yet. I had to jeopardize my own car payment. It will take time but I know I’ll catch up,” Loomis said.
Despite the financial hurdles, Loomis sought to start a voucher program to help those in more dire situations.
“They gave me the idea of starting with drug and treatment court, where I provide a voucher program for the drug and treatment court,” Loomis said. “My goal is to be a place where people can get their community service hours as well.”
Being in a position to help others has motivated Loomis to continue the program.
“I started the voucher program because I want to be that place where somebody who may of just got out of jail or treatment and doesn’t have enough money for a full outfit but they’ve got a job interview. I’ve had a few people come in and I’ve set them up in interview outfits. They then came and paid me the next Friday,” she said.