Photo Gallery | Owl's Nest expands its business
BENNINGTON — A local antique and upholstery business has spread its wings and now has a new warehouse space down the street from its storefront.
The Owl's Nest's new annex is a "digger's paradise" of antique and hard-to-find items, according to co-owner Jeanne Gauthier.
The new location inside the Bradford Mill at 753 Main St. provides some 8,000 more square feet of floor space and will be open Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and by appointment.
Visitors to the annex will find a wide selection of items, from 18th to mid-century furniture, records, and glassware, to collectable automotive memorabilia such as gas signs, hubcaps and license plates. And someone looking to fix up an older home or even make a new, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture can search through found materials such as wood reclaimed from old barns.
"We never know what we're going to find," Gauthier, who opened the storefront at 353 Main St. with co-owner Michael Roy less than three years ago, said at the annex Thursday. Nearly all of the inventory at both locations are hand-picked in New England by Gauthier, Roy and their business partner, Steven Flynn.
"A lot of the guests who come to visit us, they want to see Vermont," said Gauthier, an Acton, Mass. native with 30 years in the antique and upholstery business, A big part of Vermont's identity, she said, is its history and stories, with those stories being locked into antique items stashed away in barns all over the state.
Gauthier and Roy opened the Owl's Nest in 2013 and stored some items in the Bennington Brush Building before moving to the Bradford Mill's second floor. In November of 2015, they began bringing inventory down to the first floor space and began welcoming the public inside.
Businesses owners "have to be willing to watch what's going on around them," Gauthier said, noting the same is true in the antique business. Three years ago, 18th century furniture was popular, but that has since wained. It's why the inventory fluctuates based on the demand.
While the storefront will still carry its usual fare, the new annex will have a different variety of goods in various conditions, she said.
Antique, rustic wooden boards lines the walls of one room which acts as a workshop. It's there that a 1870s ice sled, found in a small town in the Northeast Kingdom, is being given new life as a bookshelf, by request of a customer. A few feet away, a vintage radio console has been stripped of its inner workings and is being made into a bar cabinet.
When clients come in to purchase old wooden boards, they even get a picture of the old barn it came from.
Reclaiming materials for new projects is trendy, but it's been going on for hundreds of years, Gauthier said.
"If it took you a month to make a table leg with the tools you had, you're not going to throw it away," she said.
Gauthier spoke of how preserving antique furniture, their story and history as an important part of our culture.
"You need to remember where you came from," she said. "Otherwise, you won't know where you're going."
For more information about the storefront at 353 Main St. or the business' annex half a mile east at 753 Main St., visit the Owl's Nest on Facebook or call the shop directly at 802-447-3533.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979