Repurposing history, decor

Urban Boondocks Market planning grand opening

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Mother and daughter Rita Sevier and Desiree Reid have spent months preparing 115 West Main for a grand opening of Urban Boondocks. The renovated counter is one example of the work the Sevier and Reid families have put into the project. (Photo by Mindy Ragan Wood)

By Mindy Ragan Wood, Staff Writer – Some businesses open up as an in-and-out place to pick up goods, but others become a favorite place to hang out and find that perfect, elusive item shoppers haven’t been able to find.

Welcome to the soon-to-open Urban Boondocks Market at 115 West Main Street. Owner Desiree Reid has been crafting and painting since she was a child. Along the way between a career and raising a family, she discovered a knack for repurposing bits of history and tossed aside décor to create items of unique charm.

Take for example, a light fixture she made from pieces of a mirror or the dreamcatchers she made from scratched records.

“We rescue things that someone would throw away and use them as pieces for art,” Reid explained. “I don’t think we throw much of anything away. We’re always creating or thinking about how to create something around here.”

Inside the store Reid and her family have been working to renovate an old plumber’s shop into a mercantile for fine art, furniture, crafts, apparel, and vintage oddities. So far, their hard work has transformed a rough stone into a diamond showcase for their goods and wares.

“It was empty for 10 years,” she said. “There was no air conditioner, no heat, no electricity. We took down walls, sheetrock. Pipes were coming down everywhere. It was a mess.”

Now the showroom is full of mid-century pieces of furniture and décor items that have been paired with other items for a look that is without theme. Artists pride themselves on self-expression, a way to incorporate color, shape, and emotion without necessarily excluding other elements. Reid is no exception to that notion of embracing various aspects of interest in décor and fashion.

“You can bring all sorts of things together,” she said. “Retro, rustic, bohemian, or as it’s called boho, without making it too theme-y. I have friends who come to my house and say, ‘I never would have thought to put that with that’ or ‘I can’t wear hats.’ Why not? Of course you can.”

Even the building itself is a reflection of merging various aspects of time and purpose. Reid was able to salvage a counter and transform it into a sort of bar on wheels, uncovering wood beneath the veneer for something that is warm and inviting. Exposed cast iron supports still uphold the cement block building’s structure. She kept tile in the bathroom that was once in the old Yukon High School.

“The people who owned the plumbing business worked on the old high school so they kept the extra tile and installed it here in the bathroom,” she explained.

The market will offer far more than décor and vintage furniture. Reid has already lined up crafts professionals, some who are unknown online and are absent from vendor boutiques.
“We have a woman who sells her own body products that she makes from her farm, goat milk soap and lotion. There’s another woman who will bring in vintage clothing, hand-sewn. She makes handbags and clutches…she uses new and old vintage print fabrics.”

A leather artist who uses hand tools to craft leather goods will also have space in the market.

Reid also plans to offer space to those who want to conduct craft workshops, including some for children. She also intends to host an occasional farmer’s market at the back of the store’s property and hopes to coordinate some festivals and special events with other businesses in the area.

Bringing people together is something Reid loves to do.

For several years, she has worked with customers through social media where she posts images of her work. Many of those customers have become friends. Reid said there is something about this business that brings people into the circle of warm acquaintance and even strong friendship. She suspects it’s the sentimentality of vintage pieces and finding things for customers that are meaningful to them.

“We want this to be a place not just to shop but to linger, to wonder where something came from, how it was made because things like are so much more meaningful than something new. I don’t want it to be a store where they just shop, but ask questions like, ‘can you make me something like this, can you find that? Can we just hang out in the shop?’”
The market will also be an opportunity for customers to support the community and various causes. Reid supports Pets & People Humane Society, but wants to support veterans, and other causes.

“We want to support local charities and maybe even a local individual who experiences a tragedy. We want to incorporate things like this for sure.”

She plans to support a charity called “The Hugs Project,” which sends care packages to active military personnel. There is no shortage of patriotism for Reid who plans to sell vintage Americana pieces like signage and patriotic tee-shirts in the market.

She hopes to see Urban Boondocks open in a couple of months as they finalize city inspections and plan a grand opening. Reid plans to have live music, a food truck or two, and other perks for customers who come to see the new place to shop in town.

For more information, visit their social media pages on Instagram and Facebook under “Urban Boondocks Market.”