Antiques, crafts co-op leaving downtown for new location
FARMINGTON – The antiques, crafts and collectibles store A Beautiful Mess vacated its downtown location on West Main Street this week and plans to re-open on June 2 in the former Skateland building at 4016 East Main Street.
Owner Mendie Terry said leaving downtown is a cost-cutting move, but it will also allow her to own her own building rather than simply paying rent.
The store, which consists of booths that artisans and antiques collectors rent monthly to sell their wares, has been operating on West Main Street since July, 2015. The store's 37 vendors sell items ranging from refurbished furniture to hand-made crafts. In addition to renting booth space, vendors contribute eight to sixteen hours per month manning the store, depending on the size of the booth they're renting.
"Our store is different from other antique malls because it's got a younger, more modern vibe," said Terry. "We have new, hand-made and refurbished items in addition to antiques."
Terry said customer reaction to the move has been positive.
"People are really excited," she said. "Some are sad that we're leaving downtown, but most are really glad about the change."
The decision to move came after Terry learned of an opportunity to lease-to-own the vintage roller skating rink instead of just renting it.
"It was pretty expensive for me to rent downtown and that was a factor, but mostly it was a chance to actually own my own place," she said. "I'll be doing a lot of improvements on the building, so all the work I do will contribute to my own future."
The fact that the new location is all one level was also a selling point, said Terry. The former location, which consists of two floors, was built in the 1930's and for many years housed the Wallace Furniture Company.
"The stairs were really hard (at the former location)," she said. "It was difficult to move furniture up and down, and some of our customers also had a hard time getting to the different levels."
To prepare the new location for the June move-in, Terry and family have been painting the ceiling and refinishing the floors of the 6,000-square foot building.
"We'll also have to put some walls up," she said. "We eventually hope to work on making the outside look better, but that will need to be after we get the inside done. It's going to be a really pretty place, complete with chandeliers."
Terry, whose hobby is refurbishing old and new furniture, said she got involved in a booth-rental business after collecting numerous furniture pieces and not knowing what to do with them.
"I was a stay-at-home mom, and once my baby went off to kindergarten, I had a booth at the Dusty Attic (another booth-rental antique mall on the south side of West Main Street). I realized that this type of store is a lot of fun," she said. "The hours are flexible, and since booth renters chip in to staff the store, I don't have to be there all the time."
Some plans for the new location include offering craft classes and crafting rental spaces, so items can be made on-site.
Terry said there is currently a waiting list for vendors to join the cooperative store.
"We're always looking for new people and new things," she said. "People's lives change all the time and vendors constantly move in and out. I get attached to the vendors – they become kind-of like family."
While she's excited to be getting into a building of her own, Terry said the move is bittersweet.
"I am sad to leave downtown," she said. "I will miss being a member of the downtown community and being involved in things such as the car show and the art walks. But I'm excited to try things out on the other side of town. It's closer to my home, and it will be my own place."
Also sad to see A Beautiful Mess move is Michael Bulloch, coordinator of the Farmington Downtown Association.
"It's a sad day for downtown," said Bulloch. "They've been a great addition. I don't think it's a huge setback for downtown, but it is a minor stumble."
Bulloch said he can understand Terry's desire to own her own building, but said there are many benefits to owning a downtown business.
"There are a lot of things we can do to help businesses market themselves, and we also support them in other ways," he said. "We'll do our best to find another great business to move into that building, but we really hate to see A Beautiful Mess go - it's such a fun place and they've been a good community partner."
To find out more about A Beautiful Mess and to receive updates on the upcoming re-opening, visit the store's Facebook page.
Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.