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Saturday, September 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Nic Nac Nell’s has vintage feel: Rental shop opens in West Central

Janelle Hiccox and her daughter, Katie Morris, of Nic Nac Nell’s Vintage Rental Co., offer vintage decor and serving wares (china, silver, serving platters, etc., plus linens like napkins and tablecloths) for weddings and other special occasions. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Janelle Hiccox and her daughter, Katie Morris, of Nic Nac Nell’s Vintage Rental Co., offer vintage decor and serving wares (china, silver, serving platters, etc., plus linens like napkins and tablecloths) for weddings and other special occasions. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

If you’re the type of person who wants old books, an antique typewriter and classic china at your wedding or other event, then Nic Nac Nell’s is the place for you.

The company run by a mother-daughter duo was born out of necessity. Katie Morris wanted a vintage travel theme at her wedding a few years ago and sent her mother, Janelle Hiccox, shopping. The reception was being held in an old schoolhouse, and Morris wanted the decor to match the building.

“I had a ball,” Hiccox said. “I just bought stuff.”

The two just opened a storefront in West Central where they showcase their items. Morris owns the business, and her mother acts as a consultant. Nothing is for sale, but everything can be rented for events. There are shelves full of plates, teacups, silverware and serving trays. Antique leather luggage is stacked against one wall and even the wedding cake toppers are vintage.

Two tables are set up to showcase possible place settings. Few of the china pieces match, but they are paired based on color and style into attractive place settings.

“We don’t match,” Morris said. “You look at the table, and it all goes together. It’s different, but it all goes together. It’s really fun to mix and match.”

Hiccox said she acquired the large collection of china a few pieces at a time by haunting thrift stores, estate sales and auctions.

A large bookshelf of old books sits against a wall. The books are used as accent pieces or as risers underneath a candlestick.

“We’re really proud of our book collection,” Hiccox said. “It kind of adds a little masculine tone to it so it’s not all flowery breakables.”

Hiccox retired not long after the wedding. “I said, ‘Keep everything. I have an idea,’” Morris said.

There were some options for vintage rentals in Seattle but not in Spokane, Morris said, so the two launched the business. In the beginning they worked out of Morris’ garage and also kept some items at Hiccox’s house, but it was unwieldy for customers.

“We didn’t have enough space,” Morris said. “They want to see it, they want to touch it, they want to pick it out.”

At the end of May they opened up at their storefront at 2501 W. Broadway Ave. in a building that is itself vintage. There are many gaps in its history, but it was once a gas station and the Handy Corner Grocery operated there from the 1930s to the early 1960s.

“We think originally it was a cider factory,” Hiccox said.

Her husband John bought the building in 1974 and opened the Junk Ladies Antique Store, which closed in 1977. The couple continued to own the building, and it was occupied on and off by various renters, including a candle factory.

“Boy, do we wish those guys had been cleaner,” Morris said.

They had to scrape up about quarter-inch of candle wax that was on almost every surface before they could open. Then they had to clean up what the former tenants left behind.

“It was just full of junk,” Hiccox said.

The two offer their services for birthdays, baby showers, bachelorette parties and weddings. They’ve done about a dozen events in the past two years, but business has been picking up. They booked eight weddings at the bridal show in January.

Most decor packages are $100, and Morris said she set her prices low in the beginning.

“We just wanted to get out there and get some business,” she said. “I also try to keep in mind it’s Spokane, not Seattle. And I want people to be able to do this.”

The storefront is open by appointment. Walk-ins are welcome from 3 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday.

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