Wednesday, January 4, 2012

There's nothing like shopping for antiques in old buildings; it seems so fitting. Aside from the antiques for sale, I can't help but inspect and admire the architecture, the worn wood floors, the shine of the well-used door hardware, or the elaborate designs of the chipped and painted tin ceiling tiles. That's exactly the kind of building I always hoped I'd have for an antique store, long before my sister, Linda, and I ever shared our dreams about owning an antique shop.

In April of 2010, I went to a personal-property estate auction of a local attorney held in the neighboring town. True to my history, I bought items too large to fit in my car, and called my husband to bring the truck. While waiting for him, I started walking along the downtown buildings doing what I do best: peeking into them, hoping to someday find a FOR SALE sign in one that I love. Guess what -- that's exactly what happened. Not only that, but the owner was at the auction as well, and walked over as I was playing peeping Tom.

Because the building next to hers had some serious structure damage, and the building on the other side was empty, I started checking with those adjacent owners to see what their plans were. The damaged building to the south was under city orders to be immediately repaired or demolished. The empty building to the north was a mystery; what was known is that it had long ago been abandoned. The local City Administrator (they know everything in a small town) thought it was held up in either a sale, or a foreclosure. After some research, I found and talked to the attorney handling the case. I changed gears and began working on owning that property. It was built in 1882 to be a bank, but the building's glory days had passed many, many decades ago. The bank building did, however, still have the bones to have some dignity returned to it. Although Linda and I wanted a shop together, building ownership was up in the air. The decision was made that my husband and I would buy the building. Eight long months later, filled with surprising issues and upsetting twists and turns (which also translates into more expense), we now have a building for our future store. It's a huge leap towards our dream, and we're very excited, but boy do we have a lot of work cut out for us -- as you can see from the photos.

So the story from my husband goes something like this: "Yeah, Becky went to an estate sale to buy some antique stuff and ended up buying an ancient bank building."

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." -- John Quincy Adams

Photos of the future home of Mud Pies & Sassafras Tea Antiques