The Small Hinge to open a big door

The Small Hinge—A Doorway of Possibilities

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.
The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
Winston Churchill

That’s exactly what happened when Westsider Melody Tener toured the KCMO Mattress Recycling plant. What some saw as a problem…loads of unusable donations (because they were either too large or in disrepair), she saw as a potential revenue stream for one of Westside’s Community partners, Avenue of Life. The dilapidated donations weren’t all that caught her eye. As she toured the plant, she also saw piles of raw material that could be recycled into home décor.  

A vision began to form in her mind’s eye. What if these items were upcycled or recycled into unique home décor elements and sold in a boutique? What if that boutique could also help struggling families develop a new skill and revenue stream? What if the profits from that little boutique could financially benefit Avenue of Life?  

Avenue of Life is a faith-based non-profit committed to breaking the cycle of poverty through community development. The organization’s financial needs are great as they provide food, assistance and help homeless families get housing and become self-sustaining. Tener knew the possibilities with this small idea were endless.

The more she thought about it, the bigger the idea grew. In fact, the idea got so big, she tucked it away.

Over the next two years, the vision for the boutique would not leave her alone – almost as it if was simply begging for her to give it life.  So, when Tener read an article about what happens when we don’t follow through on an idea, she was both convicted and emboldened to take the next step.

“I knew that if I didn’t do this, I would always regret that I hadn’t at least tried,” Tener said.

So, late last summer, Tener filed an LLC for “The Small Hinge,” and began looking for a storefront.

In February, a small army of volunteers (mostly from Westside) prepared and opened The Small Hinge in an unassuming basement in downtown Bonner Springs. The boutique is steadily building both its inventory and a committed following as it gears up for its official grand opening May 5-6.  

“Maybe you’ve heard the quote that ‘it only takes a small hinge to open a big door,’” Tener said. “For me, The Small Hinge really represents the daily, small things we do both in life and in obedience to Christ…that’s what’s really big in the end.”

In addition to creating a new revenue stream for Avenue of Life, The Small Hinge also provides a fun, creative outlet for volunteers to share their God-given talents and abilities, ministering to others outside the church walls.  Soon, creatives (and creative wannabes) will also be able to take arts and crafts classes, providing the perfect venue for fellowship and community.    

Would you like to help?  Donations of new fabric, gently-used décor and easily repurposed furniture are always appreciated. Local artisans willing to sell artwork on a consignment basis are also welcome. The Small Hinge is also looking for volunteers to serve as warehouse shoppers and furniture repurposers or to help staff the shop on sale days.   

The next sale date is scheduled for April 7-8 from 10am-4pm. Additional information: