We are officially the new kids on the block! On Wednesday July 23, 2015 Mike turned the "Open" sign and we welcomed people into our doors and into our hearts. After years of antiquing as a hobby we decided to take the leap and make this our life.
The process of getting here and getting the store open by our rather agressive deadline wasn't exactly easy. However, despite the blood, sweat, tears, and a few temper tantrums we actually accomplished our goal and opened in time for Wilmington's Catfish Days Festival.
We chose to locate our business in downtown, historic Wilmington, IL. Our building is approximately 150 years old and originally housed the town's Post Office. Over its lifetime it has served many purposes including other antique stores, a mortgage company, and a restaurant.
Renovating a building this old comes with its own unique challenges and pitfalls but also allows for some exciting surprises. There were several layers of carpet and plywood covering up the original hardwood floors. I wanted to go with the easy way out and do what plenty of previous tenants had done over the years and simply add another layer of flooring. When we got down to pulling up the first piece of the final layer of plywood I almost ran for the hills! The original hardwood underneath had been damaged and rotted out from the building's time as a restaurant where the soda fountain machine sat. Being a novice in building resotration I thought for sure this couldn't be fixed and laughed and thought Mike and Charles, our friend, had lost their minds when they assured me this wouldn't be a problem.
The building also revealed her secrets as we worked to make her beautiful again. The flooring under the fantastic nook leads down to the building's mud floor basement. Someone even dared to venture down into the depths of the building through this opening. I can certainly say that you wouldn't catch me down there without a VERY strong flashlight.
I'd like to say "slowly but surely;" however, nothing about this process was slow. From the day that Mike came to me and said he thought we should go into business for ourselves to our Opening Day things were full steam ahead. We can not put into words the amount of thanks that are owed to so many people. Those who helped get us to this point; the people that spent time working with us until the wee hours, those that just spent time getting last minute details together, and those that simply offered advice and words of encouragement. Everyone came together to help us reach our goal and we can't thank you all enough!
Come check us out. If not for us being a new store, just come see all the hard work and uniqueness of this building.