Nov
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2018
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From the Print

Rose and Sal Company Mercantile — More than an antique store

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By Tracy Perkins-Schmittler

At an old storefront in town, Susan Burgos is showing a customer an ornate quilt and accompanying pillow cases made from old scraps of material. A family of three is enthusiastically inquiring what pieces of old furniture they might bring in to sell. Meanwhile, a husband and wife, who are in the hustle and bustle process of moving, are bringing in various pieces of antique furniture for consignment through the back entrance.

“Finally having everything out of boxes and together has been a bit emotional at times, but the reactions from our guests has been so positive it has solidified the vision we have for the space,” said Burgos, co-proprietor of the village’s newest shop.

The Rose and Sal Company Mercantile is now open for business at 136 Dayton St. in Yellow Springs at the former location of Atomic Fox, which was originally the Ford Car and Tractor Dealership built in 1914. In the 1960s, it was Center Stage, a local theater company.

After a modest preliminary opening with just the front area of displays available to the public, Rose and Sal’s grand opening is  Saturday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, with a food truck and party in the back of the store.

The owners acquired the space through their current landlord, Bob Baldwin, from whom they were renting office space for their smaller online home furnishings business. The interior of the building has had a great deal of renovation and restoration since they took over the space.

  More than just an antique shop, Rose and Sal is a bona fide old-fashioned style mercantile in the true sense, selling a variety of vintage and modern products that keep their value because they are never disposable. The front of the shop is laden with curated aesthetic, yet functional, pieces. The back of the shop, still in the works for the grand opening, also contains a workshop for repairing and restoring old furniture and lamps for customers.

The shop’s intent is to sell merchandise that is of high quality and built to last, yet at affordable prices, the owners said. The focus is on modern furnishings and accessories that are solidly built, unlike cheaply-made wares that are discarded once they are broken or are no longer of use. The idea is to display things in a picturesque way so that people can showcase their items for consignment. Consignment items are offered at 40/60, with the higher amount going to the customer, which is an unusual good deal, according to the owners.

Burgos is opening the shop with her husband, Michael Bell from East Brunswick, N.J. Burgos grew up in this area just outside of town on the edge of Fairborn near Twin Towers Park. Her family still owns farmland in Xenia. The two met in Phoenix, Ariz., where they were both living at the time. Bell was working at the urban planning office and Burgos at the hotel restaurant across the street, of which Bell was a frequent customer. Burgos needed to return to Yellow Springs to look after her parents, and wanted to raise their two little sons in a less fast-paced environment. They have been living here since 2014.

Burgos had once attended Sinclair Community College, but later returned to school at Phoenix University and received her bachelor’s degree as a sommelier (a wine expert) and her master’s degree in furniture, design, and architecture. She started in Phoenix restaurants where she was hired to do aesthetically pleasing setups for their lounge areas, for which she would scout for unique items. This artistic ability has translated into setting up similar such displays for their store, she said.

The combination of gradually acquiring goods, an aesthetic artistic vision and a background in sales has led to the expansion of their smaller-scale online business into a brick-and-mortar mercantile. Burgos said she loves history and restoration.

“Opening Rose & Sal has been a culmination of my life experiences,” Burgos said. “Being able to showcase my collections and create a space to share with the community under one roof is just amazing.” 

Bell earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in geology and geography, and went on to earn his master’s degree in urban environmental planning from Arizona State University in Tempe. He had been working at an old-fashioned  gas station where he gradually learned how to work on cars. From there he got into bicycle repair, which he said he prefers because he’s an enthusiast for mountain biking.

As an urban planner, Bell became adept at brainstorming sessions involving community input and hashing out new ideas, which he said has been an asset to starting the new business.

“Michael is very handy,” Burgos said. “He helps make the vision come into being.”

Bell can either do functional restoration or aesthetic restoration of pieces, or both, he said. The latter requires a lot more in-depth work, however. He said that the process of opening up the store has been chaotic.

“It’s like riding a race-course that’s being made while you’re riding it,” he said. 

The name Rose and Sal came from their grandmothers — Rose was Burgos’ and Sally was Bell’s. Their two young children are Benny, 4, and Charlie, 2 and Burgos’ son, Devin, 15, attends high school in Yellow Springs.

By June, they want to start up public workshops in soaps, oils, woodworking and other arts and crafts.

“We’re so excited for this summer as our workshops begin and the gallery space has its first shows,” Burgos said. 

They would also like to eventually open up their space as a venue for various community activities. Their website is http://www.roseandsal.com and they can be reached at 937-319-6017. 

Tracy Perkins-Schmittler is a local musician and writer.

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