The 56th annual Grammy Awards will be held this Sunday, January 26, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. While most Missourians will have to tune in to catch the big event, Raymore resident Rachel Ropp is experiencing the Grammy Awards in an entirely new—and up-close and personal—way.
Ropp won’t be gracing the stage to sing a song or to accept an award, but she has been given the opportunity of a lifetime to display her passion for “revamping and reviving” in the presence of America’s celebrity singers and musicians.
Ropp is a 1996 graduate of Raymore-Peculiar High School. She moved to Florida after graduation, saying she would never come back to the Midwest. However, she quickly realized, in her words, “The Midwest is where it’s at.”
After marrying her husband in Florida, they made the move to Raymore a year later.
“This is home,” Ropp remarked.
The Ropps have three children: a son in the fifth grade, a daughter in the second grade, and another daughter in pre-K.
Ropp knew from the beginning that she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom during the young, fleeting years of her children’s lives. When their son was born, the couple realized they had little extra cash for furniture, since they were living on one income. Additionally, Ropp realized that, as much as she loved being home with her son, the routine of dirty laundry and dishes could become somewhat mundane. As a result, Ropp quickly discovered a new passion: refinishing furniture.
It first began when she redid an old piece of furniture given to them by a family member, but it quickly turned into a hobby, and then into her own business.
Ropp explained that she loves the process of turning an ugly, debilitated piece of furniture into something new and complete.
“I feel like I’ve accomplished something!” she said.
Ropp’s refinishing business is called “Revamp and Revive.” However, she is not merely interested in making a profit off her hard work. She also invests a lot of effort into local charities and functions. In fact, her involvement in local charities is part of what kicked off her Grammys adventure.
Ropp had refinished an armoire and posted it on Facebook, for sale for the best offer, as a way to raise money for a player on her son’s football team. Her Facebook post was shared by Tim McElliot, another Raymore resident. When he shared the photo, Ropp’s work was discovered by someone with connections to the Grammy Awards.
By way of background, McElliot was already a great inspiration to Ropp. He had been instrumental in bringing in $600 of the $1500 raised in a fundraiser done by Ropp’s son’s football team.
The fundraiser, “Project Pink,” began when her son expressed the desire to do something about breast cancer. His team decided to raise money for a local family that was currently battling the cancer. Even though McElliot was undergoing surgeries for a work injury, he still helped them out and brought in a huge portion of the funds raised.
“Tim McElliot has been a huge influence on us, and he didn’t even know it,” Ropp said. She explained that he showed her the importance of looking for opportunities to help others instead of focusing on yourself.
When McElliot shared the photograph of Ropp’s refinished armoire, the picture came before the eyes of a woman who works for Distinctive Assets. Distinctive Assets is an L.A.-based company that is self-described as “a niche marketing company offering celebrity placement, product introduction and branding opportunities within the entertainment industry”—and the Grammy Awards is high on the list of events on their résumé.
The Distinctive Assets representative liked the refinished armoire so much that she contacted Ropp last July. The potential of Ropp becoming involved in the Grammys began to materialize—but as the months went on, it slowly seemed to fizzle.
However, in October, Ropp was contacted again and asked if she could pull off an impossibly challenging project: transforming a baby grand piano into a water fixture.
Ropp secured a piano for free and told the woman that it was, in fact, very possible. From there, she was also recruited to provide twenty barnwood tables.
Beyond that, Ropp was given an unheard-of opportunity to have a spot in the lounge at the Grammys. In the lounge, she will be able to give away her products for free to celebrities. According to Ropp, this opportunity is typically costly, because companies are willing to pay top dollar just for the potential to have their products carried around by big-name celebrities. For her, the opportunity comes free.
As if that were not enough, Ropp will also be decorating dressing rooms for some of those celebrities—she has the list of names, but for now, it’s a secret. And while she won’t actually be in the midst of those celebrities to watch the awards, she and her husband have been invited to an exclusive after party.
In all this, Ropp remains very humble. She recognizes the contributions of several companies and people who have helped her in her rush to finish everything on time. Through this entire process, the principle of helping others has been continually reinforced in her mind. With the support of her family, and with many thanks to Tim McElliot, she got where she is today, and dozens more have helped her along the way.
“Never walk away from an opportunity to do something good. You just never know what’s gonna happen,” she said. “Just don’t make life about you. There’s so much greatness out there, and opportunity.”