The first time I stepped into her shop, I didn’t meet Elma but I did meet her daughter who was minding the store for her. It was on a Saturday afternoon and my friends and I were on one of our many adventures together. Our agenda this time was to start at Dick & Jane’s Martini & Tapas Bar for lunch and well, a martini, and then browse the eclectic shops on Clay Street in Mebane. When we walked into Elma’s shop, The Copper Awning, I realized that I couldn’t slow my friends down to give me time to look through her interesting collection, so I made a mental note to return the next week to see what vintage things I could get for Southern Vintage Table.
Elma was there on my next visit and I explained to her that I was looking for miscellaneous vintage china and tableware. She told me she had some terrific finds in her back room but she needed to get it organized before I could take a look. One peek at that back room and I knew she was right – I would come back later.
The following week I returned and when Elma saw me, she smiled. “Well, I haven’t had a chance to do much back there but I’ll make a path for you.” More than a few things were moved out of the way and then she left me to look. I started making a pile of a few things – a wooden box, milk glass goblets, vintage books – and as I am surveying the room filled with stacks, boxes and bags of “stuff” as Elma calls it, my plan came to me. I walked back into the front. “Elma, I said, “you need help getting that room organized and I would like to offer my services.” I suggested a bartering deal – my organizing skills for vintage things. She loved the idea and so did I!
I’ve been there several times, sorting, organizing, opening boxes and cleaning in that back room and basement. We have carried things from the back room to the basement and from the basement up to the showroom. We have moved cabinets, shelving and bins. I’ve been there one week to return the next to find a room in the shop totally restaged. This past week she had a gorgeous wedding dress displayed on a table complete with matching shoes and bouquet!
So what treasures have been added to our vintage inventory? First, we have more beautiful goblets – milk glass, crystal, pink and blue – and a few dainty teacups. We also now have a nice collection of vintage tins to add to a tablescape – love these!
My favorite addition, however, is a gorgeous set of vintage china called Forget Me Not by Myott china. This set is perfect – cream colored with a swirl rim and sweet blue flowers. I love the pattern but mostly I love how they came to Elma’s shop. Scott and Elma bought them at an auction for me. Such an act of kindness! Look for an upcoming “mixing & matching” blog with this beautiful pattern.
This chance meeting has flourished into both a business arrangement and a friendship. I’ve met her husband, daughter, granddaughter, son and daughter-in-law when they have stopped in at the shop as well as her friends and helpers, Scott and Patsy. I have learned that her story is even more interesting than the collection of “stuff” she has in her shop – she’s a retired civilian Marine, she volunteers at her granddaughter’s school, she sings in her church choir and she was in the Pentagon on 9/11.
Check out The Copper Awning on Clay Street in Mebane. Not only will you find something you will love, you’ll meet the delightful, generous Elma. Be sure to say hi for me!
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