Grand opening: A new roost on Main Street

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BENNINGTON — After closing their storefront on Main Street in March, Owl's Nest is set to re-open this weekend with a new name, a new location, and a new vision.

The new era for the store formerly known as Owl's Nest Upholstery and Antiques will begin at 10 p.m. on Saturday at their new location in the Bradford Mill building at 753 Main Street, a little over half a mile from the store's old location in the Putnam building. Now called Owl's Nest Emporium, the shop will offer an entirely new experience for customers.

"We wanted to create a space that was inviting to people, but also where they could find one-of-a-kind items," said Jeanne Gauthier, who opened the store with Michael Roy in 2013. Gauthier and Roy, along with business partner Stephen Flynn, worked diligently over the summer to transform the warehouse space into a 2,000 square foot showroom, which even includes a replica of part of a tin-roofed barn.

"We've been working noon and night, painting, scraping, for the last two months," said Gauthier.

The showroom features rustic and retro decor, including signs, taxidermy, table decorations, re-upholstered antique furniture, books, and much more. But the true jewel of the collection is the business's custom-made furniture, made from re-claimed materials, such as from old New England barns or ski lodges. Gauthier said that their furniture is unique and useful but has history to it as well. "It's all made out of materials from that time period, and they're made to last," she said.

Roy said that they travel all over New England, New York, and even as far as Pennsylvania to find the salvage they use in their projects. Besides the re-claimed wood- and metal-work that will end up being used in their projects, some of the more interesting acquisitions include an old Coca Cola cooler, a neon Citgo sign, and ski-lift chairs from Mount Snow. The latter, said Roy, are quite popular.

"We're pickers!" he said. "It's what we do!"

One of the big changes at the new location will be their expanded selection of records. Flynn, who formerly operated RPM Records in Bennington is overseeing a collection of over 4,000 jazz, rock, blues, eclectic, exotic, and other records, in 78, 45, and 33 rpm. He said that he's acquired a lot of large record collections, especially jazz, over the years, but old barns are actually an excellent source for old records.

Roy said that they chose to be pro-active about moving out of the Putnam building, which was acquired by the Bennington Redevelopment Group, LLC, earlier this year and is slated for a $53 million re-development project.

The owners haven't finalized the hours for the new store yet, but are planning on being open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday, when they would be open noon to 5 p.m.

Derek Carson can be reached at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.

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