The word redemption evokes a sense of new life, of freedom, of reclamation. The word is powerful and one that Owners, Jauxniece Palmer and Jill Snelling, of American Redemption in Suwanee stand behind. American Redemption is a marketplace of local artists where every item is hand-built, hand-finished or hand-picked.
By: Rachel Pillow | Photos by: Karl Lamb
But, more than a shop to find local treasures, furniture, jewelry, art pieces and other home goods, it is a place where the community can meet, connect, share and dream together…
American Redemption has coined the term “neo-antiquing,” which they define as, “the art of taking something old and making it look new… or something new and making it look old.” The idea is to give furniture or other home goods true longevity, to create pieces that people can pass down and enjoy through the generations.
About 100 local artists call American Redemption their retail home. “Each piece in here has a unique story and each artist has a unique talent or niche,” explained Snelling. Basically, if you can dream it, then it can be created. “We want our customers to understand they have freedom to dream,” said Palmer. If you don’t see what you’re looking for in the store, then share your vision with Palmer and Snelling and they will help bring that vision to life. Even if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, they can help. “We have people drop off old pieces of furniture that were passed down to them and they don’t know what to do with them, but we are able to talk about how the piece can be used in a new way, refurbish it, repaint it and give it new life and a new story,” said Palmer.
From solid wood farmhouse tables to beautiful paintings, unique light fixtures, handcrafted jewelry, leather journals, clothing, artwork and more – there is bound to be something that speaks to anyone who steps foot in American Redemption. “We want people to be able to be themselves, to play and have fun, to come in, grab a drink, walk around, touch things, lounge on the furniture, bring your kids, sit with your dog on the patio, make s’mores in the firepit out back…. The hardest thing to get people to understand is the freedom they have with us to be, dream, imagine and create. There really are no limits.”
Palmer and Snelling want American Redemption to be a space that the community can utilize in whatever way they’d like. American Redemption has open workshop space and studio space for artists and photographers to utilize, as well as DIY classes that give customers the chance to create their very own pieces. They make sure to host a wide variety of classes to appeal to artists of all skill-sets and interests, such as: welding, mosaics, sign-making and more! “A lot of people don’t realize the talent they have – we have watched many people find their niche here and be able to be very proud of their work,” said Palmer.
The coffee, wine and smoothie bar nestled inside the shop boasts “the fastest WiFi in Gwinnett” and Suzanne, the friendliest barista around, who will whip up one of her favorite lattes or any custom concoction you can think of. They also proudly serve “coffee with a cause” from Phoenix Roasters – a local coffee roasting company that empowers the international farmers who grow their beans and gives back to domestic organizations that are fighting homelessness, sex trafficking and abuse victims. Mission-mindedness and giving back to the community at a larger level seems to be a trend amongst many of the artists and craftsmen at American Redemption.
The store opened in 2016 in honor of Palmer’s late father-in-law’s legacy. Her father-in-law, Benny, was an antique picker and taught her the craft. More so, he had the gift of bringing people together. “That’s the whole essence of what this is about – we always ask people, “’What’s your story?”’ said Palmer. “We want this to be a place where people connect and can share their stories.” Step foot inside the bathroom and you’ll see positive, inspirational “graffiti” messages on the walls with a basket of markers and a note encouraging customers to leave their mark. And on chalkboards in the coffee shop you’ll see notes from people sharing their thoughts as well.
“We say that the word community is a verb,” said Snelling. “And through the store we are able to lift up these artists and give them the opportunity to get into the local marketplace as well as connect people that want quality, hand-built, hand-finished, unique goods from local artisans.” Much more than a furniture store or marketplace, American Redemption is helping to stimulate the local economy and stir up a true sense of community.