It’s as if Sex and the City landed on the Revivals Palm Springs store whenever volunteer Tionie LeBouef is on-shift. She glides through the store showing new and gently used furniture, kitchenware, appliances, electronics, jewelry, and clothing with so much flair that Carrie Bradshaw would be forced to step back and admire.
Tionie loves hats, and shoes, and everything in between. But most of all, she loves Revivals.
“I can’t wait to come to work,” Tionie beams from under the broad brim of her black-and-white hat, as the 49-year-old fashionista moves through the 20,000-square-foot store. She wears three-inch heels and a flowing, backless jumpsuit. “I wish I could work more. And I love the clothing. I shop all of the Revivals stores all the time.”
Her support of Revivals, which includes her purchase of two furs and outfits right off the mannequins that she’d just dressed, helps fund programs and services for clients of Desert AIDS Project. She finds the Revivals mission as attractive as the half-off discounts it offers every quarter. “I know that everything I do serves a wonderful cause,” she says.
Tionie cultivated the elegance and social ease that she displays at Revivals during her long career in the service industry. She’s been a bartender and managed restaurants that included McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood and Steaks restaurants, supervising their openings in Las Vegas, Pasadena, and El Segundo; and establishing Il Fornaio restaurants in Costa Mesa and Sacramento. She fell right into the flow of Revivals and found its staff, its customers, and all of its treasures, from the wedding gowns to the Wurlitzer organ, to be “an uplifting, ego boost.”
That could be because Revivals came into her life at a time when she needed a spark.
“I’d been ill with Hepatitis C,” Tionie recalls, adding that she was stricken in 2005, received a liver transplant five years later, and has been on disability for about eight years. “I was healing and wanted to get out and shop. I came into Revivals and bought a dress and I loved it. So, I filled out a volunteer application … and I’ve been working here ever since.”
Tionie has volunteered two days a week for about three years. Her son, Nicholas, 23, has even spent a summer as a volunteer in the Revivals warehouse.
She has donated two households full of furniture to Revivals … and bought another two households full from Revivals. Some of that furniture turnover occurred when she and her family moved so she’d have more closet space for her clothes, shoes, purses, and, of course, hats. “I love hats. I’m known as the hat lady.”
Whether she’s buying, donating or volunteering behind the counter at Revivals, D.A.P. clients benefit from Tionie’s style and grace. Obviously, so does Revivals, as Tionie laughs and says, “I donate as much as I buy.”