'Awesome people' motivate Deja Vu owner

Mar. 4—Deja Vu Furniture and Accessories owner Lou Ray calls the Mississippi River "Clinton's own little paradise."

It's this beautiful location along the east coast of Iowa that she loves the most about where she'd decided to open her consignment store at 101 Fifth Ave South. That, and the people.

"We have some really awesome people in our community," she says, "with huge hearts that do so many wonderful things for our community."

Ray graduated from Scott Community College in 2005 with an Associates Degree in Interior Design. She opened Deja Vu in 2009, offering unique yet tastefully selected clothing, accessories, furniture, jewelry, antiques and decor.

Above the store, Ray opened an Airbnb location with which she continually earns Super Host status as she allows others the opportunity to experience the community she's worked in and around for most of her life and enjoys being involved in.

Last summer, she organized Clinton's first East Coast of Iowa Jeeps event. That same year, she took second place in the first Downtown Christmas Window Decorating Contest and was also the 2022 chosen recipient of the Julie Allesee Community Leader of the Year Award.

This year, she'll be participating in the 2023 Consignment Crawl, Resale Tour & Retail Shopping Spree to take place March 31 and April 1 in Downtown Clinton, the Lyons neighborhood, and Downtown Fulton.

She has a desire to continually support and promote other small businesses in the area as she continues to work toward a better business of her own.

"I hope to never have to fill out a resume again," she says.

Her family and friends, though, also mean a lot to her.

"I am amazed every day by my support system of family, friends, and employees," she says. "The highlights of my life would be 30 years married to my best friend and supporter Michael, raising two fabulous adults, Derrick and Erin, and then of course my granddaughter Jo who is also Deja Vu's 'toy tester!'"

Ray says that each of her coworkers bring something different to the table, but they all "seem to know what I am saying, even when the words don't come out right."

Together, they have the support of Deja Vu consignors who Ray says make them feel loved.

It's also rewarding, she says, to be given the ability to constantly interact with all levels of the community.

"We have all these fantastic business owners in and around Clinton," she says. "It is a challenge to be a small business but these men and women keep pushing through to stay in business and do what they love. They are an inspiration and I am happy to know so many of them"

Deja Vu Furniture and Accessories in open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.