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Antiques and Collectibles: Rollingstone shop is in a century-old blacksmith’s building

July 29, 2018
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143, an antiques and home decor shop, opened this year in a century-old blacksmith’s building in Rollingstone. Owner Rhonda Schell, left, is pictured with her sister, Linda Harris.

Folks not only find unique vintage items to repurpose, they also find old unique buildings and restore them.

Rhonda Schell, owner of 143, a new shop in Rollingstone, has not only chosen an ideal location for her shop of repurposed, upcycled, vintage, rustic, industrial furniture and home decor, but it is in a 100-year-old building that has been a blacksmith shop until now.

Located at 143 Washington St., “Most of the exterior is original,” Schell said. “We have tried to maintain the integrity of a beautiful, old structure as much as possible. Going from a blacksmith shop to a resale shop has, obviously, required some refurbishing in itself. We’ve turned a cold steel storage room into a cozy, inviting showroom incorporating original old brick, barn wood and corrugated tin.

“We built a comfortable workshop where horses were once shod and many pieces of farm machinery were built and repaired,” she said “Opening this year, not on a daily schedule, but open several times throughout the year, which we post on our Facebook page.”

The shop runs with the help of Rhonda’s sister, Linda Harris. “I help with computer communications, purchasing items, hauling, refinishing and at sales,” Harris said.

Schell added, “We have the help of family and couldn’t do it without their help. The husbands have worked hard at getting the building ready, hauling furniture, building shelving, cleaning, repurposing … the list is endless.

“At this time, my business uses half the shop, which includes a workshop and display area,” she said. “And renting the other half of the building to Bending River Cove Cottages that builds tiny houses, so at this point, we don’t need the extra room. However, it is available, should we need it in the future.”

The store stocked its inventory and was furnished from other local stores, auctions and flea markets.

“Almost all of what we sell and what we have needed for the shop was purchased privately, through estate sales auctions, flea markets, and more,” Schell said. “For merchandise, we do have pillows, paintings, signs, vases, and so much more. We have a friend who does sewing and quilting, so we always have her items available. We offer these pieces because of the positive feedback we have received, and the fact that these items aren’t usually found elsewhere. We do change for the seasons and we try to stage our pieces in the shop accordingly. We are not a consignment shop.”

What makes 143 different from similar-seeming shops?

“It seems people want originality and function in their home decor, but don’t want to break the bank, or aren’t comfortable doing it themselves,” Schell said. “That’s where we come in. We do the hunting, picking, hauling, cleaning, repairing, repainting … whatever is necessary. The finished product is what is available at 143. Everything is done in-house, and at this time we do not include other artisans other than a select few. I have always refinished furniture and done a variety of artwork.

“We feel our business is unique in the inventory available,” she said. “The drive from any direction to Rollingstone is gorgeous any time of year, with the serenity of the rolling hills and farmland. Our location is easy to find, directly across from the city park.”

From customers, Schell said, she hears that they “appreciate the opportunity to buy local and from someone they know. They say they feel comfortable and have a fun shopping experience. We even have some ladies that plan a ‘girls day’ around our sale dates. Some come as regulars from Stillwater and Twin Cities area. Because of the Bending River Cove Cottages connection, we have the opportunity to share our client base on both ends. We have been fortunate enough to be able to assist in the decor of some of the tiny houses built on-site. We not only have the satisfaction of being able to see a piece transformed from our vision to reality, but to have others appreciate it as well and incorporate it into their homes. We have salvaged some otherwise discarded or undesirable pieces and there is a satisfaction to giving new life to them.”

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