The doors of Two Women Vintage Goods on the west end of downtown Spokane have closed, but they’ll swing open again in a bigger location on East Sprague in September.
Dianna Chelf and her daughter, Fielding Chelf, have owned the store at 112 S. Cedar St. since they moved it out of their barn near Spangle six years ago. The shop has filled two long, narrow spaces, with every wall and surface covered with a wide variety of vintage pieces.
A Blue Willow china bowl sat on a table next to a ceramic dog. Hat boxes lined the top of a shelf, and hats, clothes, boxes, pitchers, mirrors and anything else imaginable crammed the space. There are also two full basements, said Dianna.
The owners have rounded up friends and family to help with the monumental task of packing and moving everything in the stuffed store.
“It’s going to be a major ordeal,” said Fielding.
The new spot at 2012 E. Sprague Ave. will have double the space, which will allow the duo to open a coffee shop that will also sell baked goods and some food items.
“I think it will be really good for us,” Fielding said. “People like to rest while they’re shopping.”
Dianna said she was told the 1907 building they will be moving into started as a pasta factory. “I’m sure it’s been many things since 1907,” she said.
The building is being renovated, and she said she’s looking forward to the move to a freshly revitalized area.
“I think Sprague is making a whole turnaround,” she said. “It has no meters, free parking.”
Dianna said she and her daughter have been looking for a new location for several months. It wasn’t the storm water tank construction just down the block that drove them out, but recurring major water leaks from the apartments above the store.
“The last leak two weeks ago I lost about $1,000 worth of merchandise,” Dianna said. “We just can’t do it anymore, and our lease is coming up. Every night I still cover my whole counter in plastic.”
The roots of the store go back decades to when Dianna was a newlywed. She loved vintage items and would often visit farms in Michigan, where her husband Jim was from, to buy things for her new home.
“In the ’70s, the farmers would practically pay you to take it away,” she said.
The practice continued after Fielding was born.
“We used to push her stroller through the swap meet,” she said. “You could find great stuff, depression glass and everything. We often say our house was decorated in early swap meet.”
Buying can be addictive, she said. “It’s like an illness,” she said. “It’s the hunt, I think.”
Fielding said she loved shopping with her mother when she was young. “When I got a little older I kind of rebelled against it and wanted everything modern,” she said.
By her junior year in high school, though, she had come back around. Fielding said she loves the quality of the older items.
“It just appeals to me,” she said. “It’s different and more unusual.”
The store sells vintage reproductions as well as authentic vintage items. There are also repurposed items, such as a lamp made from an old metal coffee pot, that have become more common in the market.
Fielding said she tries to have a variety of items with a mix of prices. “We like to appeal to everyone,” she said.
Ten years ago, Dianne and Fielding opened up shop in their barn, calling it the Two Women Barn Bazaar. They operated there for four years before moving to Spokane. and the store is still going strong, just like Dianne, even though she’s nearly 72.
“What would I do at home?” she said. “It keeps you going. We love what we do.”
A grand opening and Halloween open house is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, at the new Sprague Avenue location. There will be food, giveaways and, of course, shopping. The first 20 people through the door will also receive a gift bag.
“We’re going to go all out,” Fielding said.
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