Vintage popup store opens for Christmas season

Published 10:33 am Monday, November 9, 2015

Dowagiac’s Bev Dodd (left) and Ruth Ausra show off some of the seasonal wreathes and berries on sale at their new popup store on Middle Crossing Road. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Dowagiac’s Bev Dodd (left) and Ruth Ausra show off some of the seasonal wreathes and berries on sale at their new popup store on Middle Crossing Road. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Springing up just outside of town, a new holiday popup store is looking to transform something old into something festive, just in time for the holiday season.

Dowagiac’s Ruth Ausra opened a temporary storefront for her collection of antiques and vintage clothing business, River’s Edge Antiques, late last week. The business, which will be open Fridays through Sundays through the last weekend before Christmas, is located inside the former Blue Sky Farm fruit stand at 28795 Middle Crossing Road.

The quaint storefront is chockfull of secondhand jewelry, furniture, silverware and china, and other sorts of trinkets, priced from 50 cents all the way to $280, Ausra said. She is also selling hats, handbags and other used clothing items, as well as other seasonal items, such as Christmas ribbons and wreathes.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Ausra said.

The native of Sister Lakes and longtime Dowagiac farmer has been collecting antiques for the last 12 years, and has been handling estate sales for the last seven, she said. While she frequently shows off her collection at regional antique shows, this is the first time she has set up an established storefront in town; previously, Ausra and fellow antique enthusiast Vickie Phillipson had setup a temporary market inside the Round Oak Restaurant during the city’s annual Christmas Celebration, though this event was discontinued following the Round Oak’s closure in 2013.

“I just wanted to try this,” Ausra said about the new location. “It’s something different, something new to do.”

Like with many retail businesses, the holiday season is a busy time for antique vendors, as many people purchase used and vintage goods as gifts for friends and family, Ausra said.

Many of the items for sale reflect the Christmas season, such as the store’s assortment bubble light ornaments, fine holiday china and nutcrackers.

“We just tried to put things out that people could use for the holidays, like for dinners and things like that,” Ausra said.

Ausra also plans on selling an assortment of soybean-based lotions at the store, and will also take orders for custom holiday fruit baskets, she said.

Helping the Dowagiac woman operate the new store is longtime friend Bev Dodd, who is also creating wreathes for sale at the business. Dodd’s brother, Tom Bisnett, had previously owned Blue Sky Farm, operating the fruit stand for many years before his health caused him to close it two years ago, Dodd said. Sadly, Bisnett died back in March.

An avid collector of old Coleman lanterns and Heddon lures, the old fruit stand’s new lease on life would certainly please its former occupant, Dodd said.

“I’m sure he’s just looking down right now and smiling, because this is just super,” Dodd said.

River’s Edge Antiques will be open from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fridays-Sundays through late December. Visitors can also call Ausra at 782-5517 to set up an appointment to visit outside of normal business hours.