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Collecting coins more than a hobby for Lawrence couple

If you walk into the coin shop on Illinois Street, the coins tell a story rich in history. But for every coin, the Nehers have a memory–memories that weave a story of love and faith.

“He was probably about 10 when his family started coming there,” Jolene Neher said. “We got married young so we kind of grew up together.”

It all began with Jolene, the pastor’s daughter.

“It’s more of a story about God than it is about me,” Steve Neher said. “I’m a lucky man, I don’t know what she ever saw in me.”

Rooted in faith, the Neher’s tell their story as simply as it began. After they married, Jolene worked as a waitress and received tips in silver half dollars. Their collection began and a hobby soon turned into a lifestyle.

“I was looking for something else to do and the hobby just kind of took over,” Steve said.

After settling in Lawrence, Kan., the Neher’s opened Kansas Coin Connection in April of 2010 with a promise: always give back.

“God opened the doors for us to do this as a business,” Steve said, “and it’s allowed us to do a lot of things that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”

The Neher’s try to give about 40 percent of their income away to charities like Trans World Radio, World Impact and a myriad of local Christian charities dedicated to children.

“We try to do local things, we try to do U.S. things and we try to do world,” Jolene said.

In addition, they lend their home and their hearts to the University of Kansas’ international student program, fostering students from 56 different countries.

“I say we have children around the world,” Jolene said. “We want to be here to also share the love of Jesus with people that walk through the door. We’ve tried to make it about people rather than just money for us.”

For the Neher’s, their business motto turned into a way of life.

“When we buy stuff, we try to be the highest buyer for it,” Steve said. “When we sell stuff, we try to be the lowest seller.

“Part of our business model is to not take the last penny, always leave something for someone else.”

Together, they’ve built a story of love and faith–one worth more than money can buy.