‘Tis that bewitching time of year when brisk winds pick up as night’s darkness falls more quickly and deeply. While wispy clouds scuttle over the bright moon rising to fullness, many of us recall our childhood times when on windowpanes appeared the black silhouetted figures of old women with pointed hats riding high on their cat-adorned brooms, the moon shining like a spotlight at their backs.
Two of these beguiling dark-clad crones have recently caught my attention to beckon me through front doors into shops full of delights and overflowing with curiosities. Bewitched by these window wonderments, I’ve met and grown to know two Carthage women, both visionary shopkeepers. Both have followed their instincts and intuitions. Both have worked hard and successfully created family owned and run businesses that are great sources of customer satisfaction, the kind that creates a loyal base of patrons that repeatedly return.
Come with me this week and I’ll introduce you to Sharon Coffee, owner of Colonial House at 348 Grant Street on the east side of the square. Next week we’ll visit with Dana Reed at Screen Door Antiques, aka Oldies and Oddities, Curiosities Unlimited on the Square’s south side at 331 South Main.
Sharon, a native of Monett, Missouri, and her husband, David, a son of Detroit, originally met at their Christian College in Tennessee. After their marriage, they moved about with David’s work until settling, first in Mt. Vernon, then in Carthage in 1979 to raise their family—two daughters and a son—who’ve grown up to make their own families. These days their youngest pre-school grandson spends weekday afternoons “helping” Sharon in the shop.
Together Sharon and David opened their Colonial House eleven years ago. For seventeen years, Sharon had worked as a secretary in the library at Carthage High School, before deciding to launch out in a new direction. She was inspired witnessing the success of her sister Cindy, who owns the 6,000 square foot Cobblestone in St. Charles, Missouri, outside of St. Louis.
What a pleasure to walk into Colonial House and find a Carthage grown original—an artistically designed home décor store specializing in only American made furniture and home accessories. The day Sharon and I set aside time to visit, after she put her “helper” down for a nap, we chatted quietly at a sturdy dining room table, festooned with an assortment of enticing gift and decorating items. Each time the bell at the front door jingled to announce the gentle stream of arriving new customers coming to browse and shop, we paused our conversation for Sharon to offer her greeting and welcome. Feeling relaxed in the shop’s serenity, we easily picked up the threads of our talk.
Since inception, Colonial House has been filling a niche market that’s unique in our four state area. They carry colonial and primitive style furniture and every imaginable accessory to decorate your home—handmade lighting, rugs, prints, harvest tables and chairs, upholstered furniture, bedroom suites, candles, curtains and lots, lots more. You can find Americana accessories all year long with many historical reproduction prints.
I’m not a big fan of faux adornments that are made to look like foliage and flowers, but the ones I find in Colonial House keep me going back for more, especially the seasonally sweet bittersweet wreaths embellished with small cutout metal stars. Sharon’s flame-less candles with flickering wicks are mesmerizing!
At Colonial House the possibilities seem limitless. You can custom order a chair from a line of 200 designs. You can customize a table any way to suit your liking from the table top to the table legs, from the kind of wood to the finish. Each wood piece is hand made by Amish artisans in Ohio. With a myriad of styles from which to choose, all upholstered furniture pieces are also handmade by the Amish with hand-constructed frames of hard maple. Each artful creation is guaranteed for the lifetime of the purchaser.
As we enter our Maple Leaf Festival season and begin moving fast forward into and through the holidays be sure to stop in often at Colonial House where you’ll always find an abundance of seasonal décor. Handmade Santas are already in stock—the Arnett Santas as collectibles since 1976.
The shop’s annual Christmas Open House will take place the first weekend in November—the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Do drop in and as you’re leaving take another delightful look at Sharon’s bewitching witch in her window, then pay a visit to artCentral’s Hyde House and see the amazing “Art of Quilting” exhibition on view through November 18th during weekend gallery hours: Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information or to schedule a weekday visit please call (417) 358-4404.