Whenever I have a few hours of free time I find myself heading off to one of my favorite antique stores. Well, at least that’s what they are called, but these are not the foo foo antique shops filled with my grandmothers overly ornate furniture. On the contrary these are very eclectic shoppes that are filled with wonderful things that were once cherished by someone and now they are being re-purposed and up cycled.
For many years I have had the desire to own my own coffee shop/bookstore. I envisioned an old abandoned feed store that I had once seen in a little town coming to life. I would fill it with wonderful eclectic treasures. Everything from primitive paint ladders and rusty feed buckets to east Texas pottery and milk glass. I envisioned a counter where the locals and passersby could enjoy a good cup of coffee and a little conversation. Maybe there would be a lunch counter where one of the community elders would sit and read the newspaper and drink coffee while entertaining the customers with stories about “back in the day”.
There would be a nice selection of books, old and new. Maybe a few tables where a ladies group could gather for their monthly book club meeting or bible study class. All the while the entire place would be filled with an ever-changing array of antiques and re-purposed, up cycled discards from days gone by. I even considered re-opening the feed store to draw in the locals.
As God would have it I do manage a bookstore and coffee shop. It just so happens to be in the lobby of our church. I must have forgotten to mention the exact address when I was praying about that abandoned feed store on the corner. For the last 5 years, The church bookstore and coffee shop has been my training ground. I have learned so much about the retail and food service industry. How and when to order. How much to order, when to buy in and when to back off. I have learned that merchandising is a huge key to being successful.
Also, as God would have it, I now live just down the road from that once abandoned feed store. It now is home to a little re-sale antique/junk store. The owner is very nice and she carries a mix of boutique items and salvaged architecture pieces. She does lean a little more to the new than the used. Her place is strictly retail, so far there are no plans for a lunch counter or coffee shop.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the antique store…I found a blogging community that is dedicated to re-purposing things and making them beautiful in a totally new and exciting way. I have been inspired to look into the possibility of renting a space in one of the local antique stores. I have been gathering treasures for years. Recently my husband and I have begun to do a little junkin of our own. We are in the hunting and gathering mode. I am also looking for just the right shop to rent a booth from.
My absolutely favorite antique store has the “no vacancy” sign hanging at the counter. There waiting list is a mile long. Although I am not ready to jump in just yet, I do have a basic timeline. I have also stopped into another one of my local hangouts and inquired about availability, pricing and requirements. This location is the largest antique store in the county. Actually it is called an Antique Mall. That’s a little intimidating. So so many vendors. However, they have availability, great lighting, clean bathrooms and a cafe. There are other benefits but the one big negative for me was; a small booth can get lost in the shuffle. Especially if the space I rent is on one of the farthest isles from the bathroom.
There are a couple of other places I am going to look into so that I have a complete picture of the options available. I have to get my feet wet somewhere, so somewhere is where I will be. I am praying and waiting for the right door to open.