Monday, August 13, 2018

August Summary

Our first 2 occasional shop weekends are under our belt.
Maybe for our 3rd one I can post blog pictures of it BEFORE instead of AFTER!
Here's to getting more organized!

Our July weekend (the first one) was better than we hoped. We were so excited by a line on Friday morning! The rest of that Friday was much slower. Saturday was slow, but steady, and we were happy with the turnout, with it being the first one.

August? Longer line on Friday, then the afternoon slowed considerably.
Since the July Saturday had been slow, George made other plans and didn't go to the shop with me.
Big mistake.
We had another short line on Saturday, then it slowed for just a bit. But around 11, folks started coming. And coming. And coming. For a couple hours, we were quite packed. I texted George a HELP! plea, and he came. It stayed busy most of the day.

WHEW! It looks like our leap of faith is going to work out! We are humbled and thankful.

Our theme for August was Old School, and we had 2 small classrooms set up.

From the time we made the decision to switch to occasional, I knew the August theme would be Old School. What a fun way to feature old school desks! Unfortunately, we only sold one desk. We plan to take the rest to an Antiques Fair. It's funny, I used to sell school desks easily, but the last few years, they have been a tough sell. But that's ok, they made for a fun theme.

Also fun was the outhouse display. That outhouse was a big hit! Maybe too big!
It taught a valuable lesson... if you want to buy something that is too big to bring to the counter, PULL THE TAG! We had a few people wanting it all at the same time. I won't go into the details, but the lesson is clear, pull the tag, so it's spoken for if you are sure you want something.

The funny thing about the outhouse is that we bought it a few years ago with the intent of using it as a pattern to make more. We put it beside our garden and kept garden tools in it, and never did get around to making more. The tree that was beside it was crowding it out, so I suggested we go ahead and sell it, and George agreed. Since so many customers wanted the outhouse, (I was still getting messages about it that evening), George took several pics of it, along with measurements. Looks like we will be making more after all! We hope to have a few made before the September open weekend.

We weren't sure whether to put out the clay pots we picked up recently or not, but since several customers showed an interest in them when I asked, we did put them out. The remaining ones will now be stored in the back until spring.

Crocks! Enough said. Love crocks!

The chicken wire front cabinet was one of the first items sold.

Vintage kitchenware always brings back memories.

We decided to sell these white cupboards for $10 per piece. Yep, they all sold.

Both the wagon wheels went home with the same customer. They found a great new home!

Another hit was the $2 clearance corner. I got rid of lots of smalls that I no longer wanted. Obviously we can't do that every month (some of those items retailed at up to $20. or so), but we may do it again sometime at some dollar level. For September, I'm planning a jar sale, which will include the old blue ones, as well as jars I have upcycled into various craft projects.

Another lesson learned is that we need to put the things we want to display outside out there BEFORE we open at 10. In July, we were putting stuff out as the line was coming in. That didn't work very well. This time, I had it all out well ahead of time.

Starting today, I will be tearing down the Old School set up, and starting on the next one. The basic theme will be Fall Is In The Air. The main features will be vintage treasures (as always), and lots of fall decor. We are kicking around some ideas for some fun displays and we will try our hardest to make it worth your while to come again in September on the 14th and 15th.

Several customers told us with big grins on their faces that they are loving our new occasional shop status, because of how much new stuff we have every month. (We are loving it too!) We can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate the support. This could have failed miserably, but thanks to our great customers, it is going much better than we could have imagined. You all rock!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Piles of Goodies

These new occasional shop hours are keeping me busier than ever!
Lots of auctions and flea markets add up to lots of new stuff!

Stacks of enamel ware and/or granite ware.
I'll be honest, I don't know the difference.
Shh, don't tell anyone.

Old chairs. LOTS of old chairs.
Some can be used for sitting.
Some can be used for decorating.
All are all kinds of awesome.

Old boxes of all kinds, and all sizes.

Even old puzzles. That one wasn't planned, they came with a table I bid on.
But they are cool, country scenes, so sure, why not?

We are getting ready for this weekends open date.
August 10 & 11.
That's a Friday & Saturday, 10-5 both days.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Country Life = First Time with a Paintbrush

"Mimi, can I help you paint"?

So I put on old T-shirt of Pappy's on over his clothes, and gave him a worn out paint brush and a stool that had a split in the leg that I was going to take apart for the pieces.

He already had on his barn boots, which are pretty much his favorite shoes.

That smile!

That concentration!

I don't have a picture of the finished stool, because as 3 year olds do, after a while he was ready to move on to something else. But this kept him occupied for a good while, and gave him a healthy dose of confidence and accomplishment.

A couple days later I heard him telling Pappy that Mimi had a great idea and let him paint a stool.

He's not the only one who thoroughly enjoyed that moment in time.

Grandchildren are the absolute best.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Garden Angels from Shutters

We had some louvered doors in the shop, and a friend came in one day and saw them.
She said, "Barb, you should make garden angels out of those."
So we did!

We used anything we could find for accessories. I had just bought some woodwork at an auction just because I liked it. It made perfect wings! The head is an old enamel lid, and the arms are wood slats off of.... something.

This ones wings are the ends from a table top. The table was a bit beyond repair, so we took it apart and salvaged what we could.

My closeup pic didn't come out, but this ones face is a wooden plate with a flowers etched into it.

And this one again has the table top wings, and spindles for arms. She is TALL. The others we cut in half, but this one we left as the whole shutter. She is in the shop for sale, but hasn't sold yet. She may come home and get a trim. Shhh....don't tell her.

And what did we do with the end that was cut off?
Added burlap ribbon and a burlap look flower!

We have several more shutters to make more, as soon as time allows.

Thanks for the great idea Terri!

Monday, July 30, 2018

It Worked!

Its been a busy, busy few weeks. I was asked the other day if I am enjoying my semi retirement, & I laughed. Since switching the shop to occasional, I am busier than ever.

And loving it!

We've been to more auctions & flea markets in the last 2 months than we have in the last 2 years. And the hunt is the best part, am I right?

One auction we went to took us to where old school buses go to die. Ha!
No, they weren't for sale. The guy uses them for storage. I guess that would work!

Another auction took us into the heart of maple syrup country in the mountains of PA. I could have sat by this stream in the back yard all day.

But alas, duty called. All this stuff wasn't going to get loaded into the truck by itself.

Once we get it all home, its time for the one part I don't like: cleaning. Fortunately, our grandson loves that part. Any excuse to use the water hose!

I couldn't resist setting up all those sap buckets for a photo.
Galvanized heaven!

Then it all gets taken into the shop to be priced. That may be the slowest process off all.

I should have taken some pics of the semi organized chaos that has been our back room.
Old stuff going out.
New stuff coming in.
I've donated a few car loads of old inventory and display pieces to Goodwill.
And held some online auctions on our Facebook page to get rid of more.

I am going to make sense of that back room.
Or pull my hair out.
Whichever comes first.

But out front in the store, it all came together.

Our first weekend open finally arrived. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit nervous.
Would people really come?

They did!

I wish I would have had the presence of mind to take a picture. We had a line waiting!

I almost cried.

Friday morning was hectic. It slowed in the afternoon, but remained fairly busy.
Saturday morning started painfully slow.
Uh oh.
But as the day went on, more folks started coming, and though Saturday was was not nearly as busy as Friday, it was still successful.

We realize it will take time to really get the word out about our new limited hours. And while the occasional shop concept is popular around the country, it's a new thing here. I'm getting quite used to the shocked expression on peoples faces when I say we are only open one weekend a month.

But as I explain that when I was in the shop every day, I could never get out to buy new things, and now I can, resulting in lots of new inventory every month, their shocked expression changes to a smile and a nod. "Ah, I see."

George sheepishly admitted that Saturday evening that he didn't think it would work. When he heard we sold as much in one weekend as we often would in a whole month, he became a believer.

I couldn't have done this without him. He has been my auction & flea market partner as often as he can. He helps me carry the heavy stuff. And let me tell you, no one can pack a truck as full of stuff as he can!

And now?
Now we are getting ready for our second weekend open, Friday, August 10 & Saturday, August 11.

The theme is Old School.
We have several old school desks, and are in the process of setting them up as if they are in a classroom of sorts. 

But it won't just be school stuff. We will have lots of other cool stuff too.

B is for Boxes
C is for Crocks
G is for Garden Tools
H is for Horses
P is for Porch Posts
Q is for Quilts
T is for Trunks
W is for West Virginia
And so on...

And S? I decided this morning I'm going to set up a small S is for Sale spot. 
The items in that spot will be $2 each. 
Older inventory I want to move out quickly to make more room. 
You won't want to miss the $2 sale! 

AUGUST 10 & 11.

Hope you can come! Tell your friends! 
And thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking this journey with us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Switching Gears to an Occasional Shop

For a loooooooooong time, I have wanted to switch our shop to an occasional shop. Until yesterday, we were open 5 days a week. Since our shop depends on vintage items and handmade/upcycled craft projects, and since I run the shop alone, being open 5 days a week was a real drawback.

I need to be out picking to keep fresh antique & vintage treasures coming in. Bless his heart, George would go out picking once in a while, but I hated to have him take time out of his busy schedule to do that on a regular basis.

And I need to keep crafting. I have so many ideas floating around in my head, and I have lots of supplies on hand. But no time when I'm so tied down to the shop.

I have always wished for a barn just outside of town to do once a month events. But the cold hard reality is that I am never going to find that setting, and even if I did, I wouldn't have the money to buy it.

I was afraid doing the once a month thing in my location in town wouldn't go over well. George would say, "why not?" And I would tick off my list of reasons.

Then one day I couldn't think of a reason.

Let's do this!

I'm very excited. I'm thrilled to know I now will have much more time for picking and crafting. We are putting our plan into action immediately.

This Friday & Saturday, we will have a storewide 20% off sale to clear out some inventory. This will make room for all the new things coming in. (Sale excludes eggs, jelly and bath & body products). If you have been thinking about buying something we currently have, I would advise you to do it then. By the time we are open again in July, it may not be there even if it hasn't sold. We walked around the shop one day, coming up with lots of upcyling ideas for many of the current items. So, what you see right now may have taken on a whole different look in July.

Speaking of new looks, that is the idea of the occasional shop. Our goal is to have a whole new look each month, with lots of new treasures. This may turn out to be more work than being open 5 days, but luckily, George and I both like to create and go junkin', so this should be fun. Exhausting maybe, but fun.

Note that we will be open each weekend in December until Christmas. Gotta take advantage of the Christmas shopping season. Santa needs somewhere to shop!

We spent last evening re-doing the display windows. I took pics, but it was getting dark, and they didn't turn out well at all. So, I'll take more pics in the daylight, and post those later.

If you are one of our egg buyers, we want to accomodate you. Knock on the door on Tuesdays from 11-2, and I will have eggs to sell. I'll be in the shop, working in the background. You can also buy them from Howard Family Farms on Saturday mornings at the Wheeling Farmer's Market. It's held in the parking lot of St. Mikes on National Road in Wheeling.

The occasional shop concept has become quite trendy. We hope and pray we can do it justice. Wish us luck!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

We are the Mom and Pop of our Mom and Pop Shop

Since it's National Mom & Pop Business Owners Day, it's a good day to reintroduce ourselves.
We are George & Barb, and we opened our shop in 2002.

What a ride! 

Some days are incredibly rewarding.
Some are incredibly frustrating.

Most fall solidly in the middle, and that's just fine.

We have met so many great people.
Picked some really cool stuff.
Smiled when the cool stuff went home with great people.

If you haven't had a chance to stop in yet, we hope you will soon.
Find us at 318 Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville, WV.
Hours are Tue - Fri 10-5, and Sat 10-2.
Follow us on Facebook for lots of updates, and any notices on hours changes for bad weather or vacation. Or the occasional days we close to go pickin'.

The struggle is real. Be open, or go pickin'. Sometimes pickin' wins. 


Also look for us on Instagram, for a glimpse into both our shop life and our farm life.

Full disclosure: this photo is from LAST spring. We haven't had decent enough weather yet this spring to set that much stuff outside. But hopefully soon!

Spring can't hide forever!

August Summary

Our first 2 occasional shop weekends are under our belt. Maybe for our 3rd one I can post blog pictures of it BEFORE instead of AFTER! Her...