Owner’s Investment: $20,000
Cheryl Stooks, owner of Parish Antique and Country Market, envisioned a place where her community could gather and do more than simply enjoy antiquing.
Stooks envisioned a place that could become a local watering hole for the small town of Parish to gather and spend time with one another.
She wanted to cater to everyone, even those who do not collect antiques. Therefore, Stooks offers other items for sale in support of local farmers, crafters, artists and the like.
“I try to have some things available so if you’re not really into antiques, there are things you would like. I have Adirondack candles, lotions, soaps and artisan wares. I’m trying to reach a broader audience,” said Stooks.
Parish Antique is also equipped with free WiFi, sitting areas, board games and refreshments. Stooks said she hopes to open a café with sandwiches and soups inside the shop in the future.
“I wanted it to be a community building as well where people can visit with their neighbors. They can come in and sit and have a cup of coffee or work on a puzzle. I think having it be community-oriented too, might be a little different than the typical antique store,” said Stooks.
When the building became available in March of last year, Stooks jumped at the chance to fulfill her dream and open an antique store.
She has always loved and collected antiques, and dreamed about someday opening her own shop. The location took a year to renovate, as structural work needed to be done and a display area had to be built.
“Physically with the building we had to put on a roof and repair walls and redo the floors. I collected for a year specifically for this shop. Then I also worked with Larry Perras [senior business adviser, Small Business Development Center, SUNY Oswego] and he was amazing. He really helped me go through all the steps to become a business,” Stooks said.
Stooks said she put about $20,000 of her and her husband’s own money into getting the store ready to open. Parish Antique’s opening day greatly surpassed her expectations, she said, and business has been steady since. While she hopes to make her investment back within the first year, Stooks said realistically she “will see what happens.”
In the mean time, she plans to advertise more and take suggestions from the community. She has a suggestion box for people who have ideas, and a wish list for items people are looking to buy. Stooks also has a “big idea” book to offer suggestions on what to do with antiques and how to repurpose items.
In the future, Stooks plans to host special events, feature musical entertainment and offer classes.
“I feel there are a lot of lost skills now with the young people, things such as crocheting or knitting. Those things aren’t as common as they used to be. I have several friends who do things like that and I thought I could have them come in and teach a class,” she said.
As long as she is carrying items people want to purchase and providing her community with things they would like to do, Stooks says her business will be successful.