Garrettsville – “When the door closes, find a window to crawl through.” Or put in local terms, “When your business burns down, collaborate with an established business owner to stage a comeback.” Such is the case for Chic & Shabby, a beloved home decor shop which customers can now rediscover as a vendor at Villager Emporium, located at 8088 Main Street (corner of State Routes 82 & 88) in Garrettsville.
Chic & Shabby burned to the ground one day before its fifth anniversary on March 22, 2014, along with the entire historic Buckeye Block on Main Street. Owner Kimberly Del Torto’s expectation of celebration was stolen away and in its place were charred ruins of utter devastation. Del Torto lost her 4,000-square-foot corner building (the former Root Department Store, built circa 1820) at 8111 Main Street and 90 percent of her inventory. As cleanup and paperwork dragged on through the weeks and months that followed, the expectation of re-establishing Chic & Shabby seemed to fade further from her grasp. She adapted, changed course, and pursued another career goal as a real estate agent.
But the Chic & Shabby dream refused to die. “I really missed it.” Del Torto admits. “I can’t give up my love of hounding and refurbishing, and meeting people. ‘’I’m not ready to surrender it.”
I really missed it.
So one year later, on March 22, 2015, Del Torto was handed her keys to The Villager Emporium, where items representing her French cottage/rustic/utilitarian/eclectic line of home decor are now available for sale, as of April 9. Shoppers will find furniture like dressers, butcher blocks, islands, wicker pieces and end tables; and statement decor with springtime, garden and nautical themes, including lamps, mirrors, wreaths, plates, and other items featuring iron and burlap accents.
While Del Torto won’t be in the store on a daily basis, she is “really excited to be back on Main Street, where the Villager Emporium is hosting Chic & Shabby’s return. The floorspace is comparatively limited, but as one Facebook fan put it, ‘Some is better than none!’ I’m just glad to have the opportunity to be back in business and back on Main Street — there’s no other place I’d rather be.”
The store is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10am – 5pm; Thursdays 12 noon-5pm; and Saturdays 10am-2pm. On the first Thursday of the month —Twilight Thursday — it is open extended hours until 7 pm, along with all of the other shops in the town.
Villager co-owners Zivoder and Gerez moved the area’s weekly newspaper to Main Street nearly two years ago for better visibility and access. “Chris and I knew when we decided to buy the building that it would not only give us the opportunity to showcase the newspaper, but also the printing, embroidery, gift items and clothing we were already doing. We also knew that there would be additional ways to utilize the rest of our space,” says Zivoder.
We knew there would be additional ways to utilize our space.
In mid-2014, office space was made available to Cavalier Technologies, LLC. Cavalier’s home-grown business provides full-service computer repair and technology consulting solutions and sales to residents and businesses in underserved areas including Hiram, Garrettsville, Middlefield, and surrounding areas. Owner Chris Cavalier maintains a service desk on the main floor, where common tech supplies are sold (including iPhone and Android accessories); and his repair shop is located on the second floor.
Last fall Gerez and Zivoder dedicated street-level space as “The Villager Emporium” in honor of the Bejger’s “Cornerstone Emporium” that had been a Main Street staple for years. The Emporium quickly became a showcase for selling local crafts and gift items produced by area artisans, including pottery by Missy Steele and photography by area artists.
Not surprisingly, an expansion was soon deemed necessary, so “Grandma’s Attic” has been established on the second level, where customers will find Amish crafted items (bird houses and feeders, rag rugs and linens), kitchen items, locally-crafted wood furnishings, and even has vendor specializing in toddler to little girl items (hair bows, tutus, dress-up). Various local quilters also have beautiful items for sale.
Today at the street level, customers will find a dedicated retail space for Chic & Shabby’s signature reclaimed home decor, lamps, knick-knacks and furniture; Lyons Market Jams and Jellies, and a dedicated area for the Villager Emporium signature line of handcrafted items.
If you are in the market for Garrettsville memorabilia be sure to check out the Emporium’s line of photo candles, mugs, coasters and prints – all created in downtown Garrettsville. T-shirts, jackets and hoodies bearing various Garrettsville designs can be found as here as well. A candle line with scents inspired by the area — such as Crane’s Pep-o-mint and Primitive Quilt Shop (inspired by Shaker Tree) — is also featured here, along with a Villager Emporium line of goat milk soaps, sugar scrubs, lotions and vegan lip balms.
One year since the Buckeye Block fire, signs of rebirth are evident on Main Street. Dreams may be deferred for a season, but adaptability, resilience and determination result in a new crop of possibilities.
Stop by 8088 Main Street to see what’s in store — new things are arriving daily!