Faces of the Executives’ Club: Heather Aal, Owner, AAL Yours Consignments and Refreshing

Written by: Brady Drake

Founded in 2015, The Executives’ Club of Fargo-Moorhead is a club designated exclusively for CEOs, Presidents, Founders, and serial entrepreneurs to have extraordinary conversations.

We were lucky enough to interview a number of those visionary leaders and are even luckier to get the chance to share them with you over our next few issues.

Want to join the club? Head to the100.online

About Heather Aal

After many years in the nonprofit world, mostly in development, Heather Aal made the jump to business owner in the midst of the COVID Pandemic. Aal has a bachelor’s degree from NDSU in human development and family science as well as a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership from Arizona State. Aal is proud to have been part of many amazing nonprofits in Fargo including the Boys & Girls Club of the Red River Valley, the BBB and the Essentia Health Foundation. She is currently a member of The Executives’ Club of Fargo Moorhead and the BBB.

“My organization offers a place to buy and sell unique furniture and home decor. Some of the really neat things I have had the pleasure of selling include a professional reproduction of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s writing desk commissioned by Henry Ford and a 42″ lion head king’s chair carved with the God of the North Wind,” Aal said. “I spend most of my days refinishing and restoring furniture for clients. One of my favorite repair jobs was a statue that sits in the RDO building on Block 9.”

What is an important lesson you learned about business in 2022?

Take a deep breath and trust the process.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

Continued growth and success. I truly enjoy seeing the interesting and unique pieces people bring in for me to sell. I love the research and garnering knowledge about things I haven’t seen or heard of before. And the continued trust folks give me with their family heirlooms.

Take us through a typical day in your life.

I usually start my day with copious amounts of coffee as I work in the refinishing shop. Sometimes I am sanding and sometimes I am laying finishes. I like to have my wet finishes drying during consignment store hours.

After I open the shop, most of my day is consumed by research and pricing items for the sales floor. Each item is curated to ensure I am pricing things appropriately. If my consignors aren’t making money, neither am I.

I often have new friends swing through to see what is new on the sales floor. I am blessed to have met so many awesome folks through my business. I work hard to ensure I have a welcoming ambiance in the shop, somewhere people can tell me their memories about items or ask questions. I truly love the people that come in.

The end of my day is usually filled with checking on the pieces in the refinishing shop, seeing if there is anything I can do that needs to dry overnight.

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I was told very early in the process of building this business that it would never work. It had to follow set business plans and strategies. It doesn’t and it works. My response is to trust your gut and work hard to fulfill your dreams.

What keeps you at night?

Ensuring that I am being fair to my consignors, my clients and my customers.

What would you give a Ted talk on?

Not listening to the silly little voice in your head that says you can’t.

How does the reality of your job differ from people’s perception of it?

People seem to think that refinishing work is easy and not time consuming. However, a single table top takes days to complete. You have to remove the old finish, this may take more than one or two days depending on what is on it. I had a tabletop recently that took me four days to remove the old finish. Then, you sand, working to ensure you don’t sand through veneers—3-6 different grit sandpapers help to keep swirls from happening, buff out old marks and give the wood a smooth surface. Now, let your raw wood breathe for a day or two. Clean your surface with TSP, allow it to dry overnight, neutralize the TSP with vinegar water, and allow it to dry overnight… you get the point and we haven’t even stained or finished coating it yet. This is why it is expensive and time-consuming.

What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization?

Continue to get the word out. I am in the middle of the Historic Hawthorne neighborhood… it isn’t a drive-by sort of find.

If you could thank one person who’s contributed to your success, who would it be and why?

Harlan Goerger. He truly listened to me. He asked the tough questions. He supported the dream and checked in on me repeatedly. Unfortunately, we lost Harlan a year ago. The hole he left is pretty significant!

What’s your “Why”?

Because I absolutely love it. If you have passion, follow it!

What part of your job would you use an “Easy Button” on, If you could?


What’s one characteristic you believe every great leader should possess?

A smile on their face.

What’s one way you foster creativity within your organization?

I allow my employees to roll with their ideas, even if I don’t necessarily love them. This is a place where if a design doesn’t work, we can always try again.

Who’s a leader you’re studying or paying attention to right now?

Miranda Burfiend—she is a local rockstar who is making her dreams a reality. I love to see her succeed and her smile is absolutely contagious.

Facebook: /aalyours
Instagram: @aalyours

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.