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Archive for Monday, April 15, 2013

Industry, beauty and antiques collide at North Lawrence corner

April 15, 2013

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Shoppers peruse store windows at Seventh and Locust streets on a Friday afternoon. The corner is gaining an identity as a destination neighborhood for antiques and home decor, with several stores now open in the historic North Lawrence buildings.

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Lynn Thompson, Lawrence, finds a plate to her fancy at Amy's Attic Interiors and Antiques, 700 Locust St.

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Vintage finds inside French Accent, 700 Locust St.

Shoppers peruse store windows at Seventh and Locust streets on a Friday afternoon. The corner is gaining an identity as a destination neighborhood for antiques and home decor, with several stores now open in the historic North Lawrence buildings.

Shoppers peruse store windows at Seventh and Locust streets on a Friday afternoon. The corner is gaining an identity as a destination neighborhood for antiques and home decor, with several stores now open in the historic North Lawrence buildings.

Jane Garvin, Lawrence, ponders over a table and chairs at Tooter and Tillaye's Homegoods, 644 Locust St. The block is gaining an identity as a destination neighborhood for antiques and home decor.

Jane Garvin, Lawrence, ponders over a table and chairs at Tooter and Tillaye's Homegoods, 644 Locust St. The block is gaining an identity as a destination neighborhood for antiques and home decor.

Looking for the North Lawrence vintage home decor shops? You can’t miss them.

Past the muffler shop, through the billowing dust cloud by the grain elevator, parallel to the whistling train rumbling by on the tracks, the cluster of picture-perfect shops with elegant signs and windows full of pretties sticks out like a sore thumb — or more like a shiny jewel.

“It’s kind of like an adventure,” said Amy Ballinger, owner of Amy’s Attic Interiors and Antiques, 700 Locust St. “I think people feel like they’ve found a diamond in the rough.”

The corner of Seventh and Locust streets is gaining an identity as a destination neighborhood for antiques and home decor. There are now five stores in the historic downtown area of North Lawrence, plus a handful of residents in surrounding blocks who routinely open their garages for unofficial sales.

Most stores are open Friday and Saturday only, which helps business owners who have other jobs and also adds to the sense of excitement shoppers feel from making the trip over the river, Ballinger said.

The long, stone building Amy’s Attic splits with another store, French Accent, was once a gas station, then a laundromat and most recently a machine shop.

Ballinger said she was attracted to the building’s plentiful space and cheap rent when she opened Amy’s Attic Used Home Furnishings and More there in 1998.

Back then, she said, she had a lot more of the “more.” She’s since renamed the business and polished and refined her selections — which range from stately antique hutches to new housewares — and takes more of an interior design rather than a flea market approach.

Other businesses that have since opened on the industrial-flavored corner also have a mix of old and new, yet, like Amy’s Attic, carefully selected and artfully staged for shoppers.

The newest shop, Tooter and Tillaye’s Homegoods, 644 Locust St., opened in October. It’s located between My Father’s Daughter, 646 Locust St., and Eagles’ Rest Natural Mattresses and Furniture, 642 Locust St.

Dana Niemack named her store after her grandmother, nicknamed “Tooter,” and her great-grandmother, who went by Tillaye because she didn’t like her given name, Matilda. In addition to antiques and home furnishings, Niemack, who also practices feng shui, sells some garden sculptures and crystals.

Niemack — who also happens to love trains — said she loves the quiet, laid back section of town with its friendly residents and ease of parking.

“I think it’s a perfect fit for what Lawrence needs,” she said of the neighborhood. “We have other antiques, but this is a destination.”

After years of operating downtown, Angie Conrad moved My Father’s Daughter to North Lawrence about six years ago.

“I watched as that building was being rehabbed,” she said.

When the corner spot became available, Conrad said, she was the first shop on that side of the street. Her collection of vintage wedding gowns and dresses, linens, china and furniture fits perfectly in the light-filled, high-ceilinged storefront.

Store owners have collaborated on a vintage home decor brochure, which include a map of their shops and some of the home-based sellers nearby. The brochure also has a section for antiques and houseware shops across the river in the main part of Lawrence.

Store owners’ latest venture to help build buzz and extend hours for shoppers who can’t make it on weekends is Nola Nights. The cluster of shops has open houses from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month.

“To have more than one antique shop is always a lure for people,” Conrad said. “And the more little businesses we get out there growing, the better.”

Comments

LadyWolf 1 year, 3 months ago

I think someone should check the names of the ladies in the pictures...Jane Garvin is the lady looking at the green plate. Probably just switched the names around but, should be corrected. Nice, informative article, really!

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Irenaku 1 year, 3 months ago

Nice shops, but seriously...the prices are INSANE at T&T and MFD, even for antiquities. Best to hit the little French themed shop directly East, and then keep heading East on Locust to BeBe's Cottage...a shop operated out of small building behind a private residence.
I prefer antique shops in Topeka and JoCo.

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copyright 1 year, 3 months ago

I agree that the two stores you mention have prices the usual shopper will find insane. Love the stuff but can't afford it! However, similar items can be found at Amy's Attic and the French-themed store. Those two owners seem to have maintained their always-surprising (!) low prices, given the items they constantly find and rotate. The fact that turnover is much faster in the lower-priced stores means (to me) it's more fun to shop at those frequently. ALWAYS something new and intriguing.
If you are looking for a single once-in-a lifetime piece or are an interior designer with high-end clients, I imagine the expensive stores are very helpful as well. :) Whatever the case, I really salute all these talented women "finders"/business owners. Locust Street is great these days!

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Tammy Copp-Barta 1 year, 3 months ago

Wish parking was different for those shops. I've almost hit people several times opening their doors into my car or pulling out in front of me from that little curb. BeBe's is frustrating as people park on both sides of the street where big trucks have to come down and one side is no parking - that doesn't stop people .. they part there anyway!

I do love the shops in North Lawrence, though. Nice to have businesses over here!

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midwestmom 1 year, 3 months ago

Highly recommend Amy's Attic and French Accent! I love their variety and their FRIENDLINESS!!! Awesome and fun way to spend a couple of hours!

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joes_donuts 1 year, 3 months ago

Great shops, and one of the many hidden gems in North Lawrence.

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FlintlockRifle 1 year, 3 months ago

Amy, your building was indeed a service station back in the 40's, a fellow by the name of Mr. Lee had the station, across the street west was Dicker's grocery store, north across the street of your store was Moon's variety store, and across the street from Moon's west was Schick's Phillip 66 bulk station, Lot of changes in the pass 60 years.

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Tammy Copp-Barta 1 year, 3 months ago

When I was a kid in the 70's, it was a laundry mat. We would go there when the washer or dryer broke .. miss Moon's Variety store .. loved walking there after school or to get ice cream in the summer.

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sjgreen 1 year, 3 months ago

Great article about great shops! I especially love Amy's Attic, French Accent, and Bebe's Cottage. They have unique pieces at good prices with terrific customer service.

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positivethinking 1 year, 3 months ago

Another fine article from LJW. Fantastic job at bringing one of the hidden treasures to the attention of our fine citizens. Each shop at 7th & Locust seems to have a different flavor which adds to the fun of shopping. I especially enjoy the newest shop T&T with all the uniqueness, variety of inventory, friendliness and the happy dog that always seems to greet you. I have found many treasures and hope you do to.

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