Owner: Laura Hale
Why Bellingham? “It’s incredibly beautiful. We identify with the slower pace, natural settings and philanthropy. I really love the ocean, trees and gentle way of interacting.”
Favorite shop downtown? “Old Town Cafe. There is an incredible community there. It’s like its own little neighborhood with fresh, thoughtful food and conversations.”
When people walk into her shop, Laura Hale invites them to trigger their memories and “remember when…” From antiques and vintage to funky and modern art, you’ll find all sorts of items with memories from the past. Almost 5 months ago, Laura opened her business with the goal of rescuing treasures from the past and connecting them with people who will enjoy them today.
You will also find locally roasted espresso from Agri-Bay Coffee Roasters in her shop, as well as organic teas and baked goods. Laura tries to offer single-serving, healthy food that is not necessarily sweet. She also uses compostable cups and recyclable lids. “I use things rescued from the landfill, I don’t want to contribute to it,” she said.
Laura wishes for people of all ages to come in and connect with items. She is also trying to draw more children in because she believes used toys and books are a great way to teach children that things don’t have to be new to be fun or important. In the shop, there is a basket of children’s books and each time a child comes in, they can get a free book. Laura pastes a card on the inside of the book with lines on it so that each child who owns the book can write their name in it. It is a way to show kids how items have a past and are just as special as those that are brand new.
Inspiration for opening her business came from her mother. Laura has fond memories of going to garage sales ever since she was a small child. She also remembers all the antiques her mother had. Laura has always found it intriguing that everything has a story behind it. She loved finding things that were new and bizarre, but from the past. For example, she came across asparagus tongs once, which stimulated thoughts of how each piece in a home used to have a specific purpose behind it and a reason it was created. As people wander through her shop, Laura hopes certain items will encourage them to remember the past and start conversations. She paired antiques with espresso to provide a leisurely experience where people can chat and look around with a coffee in their hands.
A wide variety of people, all with their own past, have come in and talked with Laura. “Connecting with people is the reason to be here on this Earth,” she said. A particularly unforgettable moment was when a bent-over, elderly man in a grey suit came in and handed her an envelope that he wanted her to keep. Inside was a pair of silver-rimmed pince-nez that had clearly been worn. It was a chunk of history that was very personal and although there was no conversation, there was a connection because of the glasses.
Besides meeting and making connections with people, Laura also enjoys how her business is teaching her to love and value antiques for a little while, but then letting them go. She takes great pleasure in finding an item that someone came in looking for, almost like a treasure hunt. Laura is looking forward to continuing to learn from her business and meeting more people. She plans to have bistro seating outside her shop when the weather warms up and is looking for artists to display their work during the monthly Art Walk.
Find vintage, antiques and uniques at 2 Prospect St.
Today's post was written by our Media Intern Kristin Foster.