Former Niles mayor, teacher to open store in downtown Niles
Published 9:41 am Tuesday, January 12, 2016
A former Niles mayor and a retired Niles High School teacher are relocating their outdoor furniture and accessories store from Mishawaka to downtown Niles in time for the Hunter Ice Festival.
Backyards Furniture & Embellishments, which offers just about everything needed to create a beautiful and eclectic outdoor space, is scheduled to open Jan. 22 at 217 E. Main St. — the former site of Majerek’s Readers World.
“We are both very, very happy to be home,” said Patty Eycleshymer, speaking for herself and her husband, Dan.
Patty taught English and speech communication at Niles for 30 years before retiring in the early 2000s.
Her husband served two terms on the Niles City Council and was mayor for eight years in the 1990s.
Looking for something to do in retirement, the Eycleshymers opened Backyards on Lincolnway West in Mishawaka in 2008.
Patty said they decided to retire again late last year, but rethought their decision after a conversation with Niles Main Street program manager Lisa Croteau, who informed them of a few available vacant storefronts in the downtown area.
“I really wanted to be downtown, so this worked out perfectly,” Patty said. “The Paris [Soda Shop], Veni’s — this is all part of my growing up. So it is really nice. I missed Niles.”
Patty said the store would be similar to the one they ran in Mishawaka, just a bit smaller in size.
“Because we are downsizing so much we are going to concentrate on the things that were really popular in Mishawaka,” she said.
Backyards will still offer outdoor furniture, but Patty said they wouldn’t be able to stock as much of it in house as they did at the Mishawaka location.
“We will still have things people can see and touch, but then we will order for them, which is what we did a lot of anyway,” she said.
One of their most popular types of furniture, Patty said, is made out of recycled plastic that doesn’t require painting and comes with a 50-year warranty.
“It is heavy, so it won’t blow away and it requires little maintenance,” she said.
Backyards will also offer miniature garden accessories and supplies and Patty will offer classes/workshops on miniature gardening by appointment.
Backyards will be open from 10 a.m. to approximately 6 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The store can be reached by phone at (269) 635-5066. An updated website and Facebook page is still in the works.