Jan Gauger started Lincoln’s longest-running clothing consignment store in 1979. omt! divine women’s resale continues to serve the Lincoln community with resale items for many ages and styles and has continued to be a woman-owned business that includes three generations of the Gauger family.
Gauger combined her love of clothes, care for the environment and hope for more affordable clothes to start One More Time, now known as omt! divine women’s resale. Her daughters Sarah Gauger and Kate Merritt now run the business and Merritt’s daughters, Melissa Colborn and Lilly Krause, are involved as well. The business is in its fourth location and now sits on Van Dorn Street off 17th Street.
Jan started the store after becoming the first woman elected to a county office in Lancaster County and the first woman elected as a county commissioner or supervisor in the state, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. She first took office in 1973 and in 1979, she started One More Time.
“She’s been a driving force in this community and a driving force in this business,” Sarah said.
Sarah’s mother started the consignment business when Sarah first started college. Sarah credits all her business knowledge and much of the store’s success to her mother.
Mary Beth Shomos has been a customer of omt! for 20 years along with her two daughters who are now customers.
“They really do take pride in the fact that their store is a multigenerational store, their mom started it,” Shomos said. “I’ve gotten some of the best pieces of clothing ever from that store.”
When the store was opened, the push towards recycling and environmentalism was starting. As the business continued into the ‘80s and ‘90s, Sarah saw people have a less positive view towards thrifting and resale items. Today, she says thrifting and environmentally conscious shopping are much more accepted.
Not only do they sell consignment items, giving a percentage of the final sale to the clothes’ previous owners, but they also sell sustainable and locally sourced products like reusable bags, candles and soaps. Environmentalism has always been important to the family, and they hope people can buy high-quality clothes at their store instead of buying into fast fashion.
Whitney Reinmiller, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln 3rd year marketing student, is omt!’s social media manager, and she said omt! makes an extra effort to be a sustainable business.
“In retail, it’s easy not to do the extra things, but they’re very careful,” said Reinmiller about the business’s sustainability efforts.
They have stopped using plastic bags – although they are cheaper – and opted for paper bags and encouraged customers to bring in their own bags. They have set a goal to be bagless by the end of 2022.
Shomos said she appreciates both the sustainability efforts and the philanthropic work omt! does. The store does Socktober, where they donate a pair of socks for every pair sold, as well as give support to Fresh Start in Lincoln and more.
Sarah remembers when Lincoln used to have eight to 10 resale stores and now the city has just a few left. She says a struggle of the business today is to keep up with rising costs.
She finds joy knowing omt! has served customers for over 40 years and longtime customers have started to bring in their daughters and granddaughters, all of who can find clothing in one place. She works hard to find brands, items and styles that serve a variety of customers.
“Consigners have been bringing their clothes here for 20 years. They trust us to do the best we can and that means everything to me,” Sarah said.