Every day in Richmond IN, people are coming from points near and far to visit this quaint historic downtown area. Filled with unique shops and local shop owners, people return not only for the items they find but also the welcoming atmosphere.
Years ago I read a book to my daughter called “The Storekeeper.” It started with “early, early every morning, the storekeeper starts her day…” and follows her through the day in the life of a local shop owner. She greets her customers as if they are friends and family, knowing each by name. The book gives a wonderful insight into the long hours and the unusual dedication to community that local business owners have.
As I watch local shopkeepers downtown start their days I always think of this book. They may greet each other on the streets as they are sweeping their front sidewalk, or you may see one in the window, setting up a display and waving as people walk by to work.
At the Tin Lizzie Cafe, named for their historic Model T car, you may find owner Ron Hughes chatting with customers, taking a break after opening his kitchen at 6:00 a.m. to start baking fresh cookies and pies and preparing the soup of the day or a catering order.
Around the corner at Embellish, owner Kim Hoppe, sets out her sidewalk sale items early before she opens her doors. Her shop includes clothing, accessories and “embellishments” that are unique and fun. Kim also runs Black Eyed Susan, which carries vintage and collectable items including dishes and decor. Her little dog greets visitors as they come in, from her perch on her fluffy pillow, garnering smiles.
John and Shari Veach, owners of the toy store, Veach’s, care for their customers with the decades of knowledge they have personally gained and also acquired from John’s father who started the toy store over 50 years ago. They also feel close to their community and have a passion to offer good quality toys. It’s a family affair as their son Tanner, now a college student, can be seen setting up displays in the windows over summer breaks.
New shops are opening all the time in Downtown Richmond including “765” a young men’s clothing and accessory shop and Lux Lizzies, a lovely boutique with women’s clothing, boots, belts and accessories. Plans are in the works for Lizzies to also open a “tween” store soon with the same attention to high quality and affordable fashion. Both of these newer shops are also local and family-run.
Rachel and Ron Hughes, owners of the Tin Lizzie, have in the past year opened a tea room called The Tin Cup: Tea & Gift Shop. Open 10-3, M-W, and 10-4, TH and Friday, with Saturday hours from 11-2 p.m. The tea shop offers eight lines of tea including Republic of Tea, Oregon Chai and Stash with over 100 flavors. The kettle is on every day so that one can stop in and have a cup of tea or one of their specialty tea drinks. Filled with earthy and local gift items and decor, they also offer afternoon teas by reservation. Tea experiences include their “Tea for Two” and teas for up to 22 people for a larger celebration. They also hold themed teas like Downton Abbey and as well as character birthday tea parties for children.
Older shops like Davis Jewelers and John’s Custom Framing have been around long enough to be appreciated as markers of the downtown’s longevity and stability. One can often see shop owner of 52 years, John Gephart, of John’s Custom Framing sitting outside his shop downtown reading a paper or chatting with a friend. (If you don’t see him there he may be drinking a cup of coffee as he visits with customers and friends at the Tin Lizzie across the street).
Downtown Richmond offers a feeling that can be described as coming home. Visitors from out of town have enjoyed the welcoming manner of local shopkeepers when they come for a day or a weekend stay, so much that they often return regularly.
In a time of hustle and bustle and never, it seems, a time to rest, local downtown shopping is becoming more popular across the United States. People are seeking a place away from frantic and crowded experiences, and want to enjoy the one on one care that is often experienced when visiting local establishments.
When you walk into a shop in Downtown Richmond, you know that these people care about their community and what they have to offer. Visit Downtown Richmond soon to see what all the fuss is about!
(When visiting Richmond IN, stop by the Visitor’s Center as you come in from the east and pick up information on the many trails you can experience while here including a fairy trail, chocolate trail and a trail of Tiffany stain glass windows).
** Other local businesses in Downtown Richmond IN include: Ply Fiber Art– a cozy yarn shop with supplies and knitting classes available. Hometown Deli: Restaurant and catering serving breakfast and lunch. Dance With Me Bridal Shop: call Barb for a bridal party appointment. Sanders Jewelers: Jewelry shop. Mona Lisa Salon & Boutique: Hair, nails, clothing and a coffee bar. Joy Ann Bakery: Locally owned offering fresh baked cookies, pies and cakes. The Secret Ingredient: women’s clothing store. For more information on local shops, check back in to GoWayneCounty.com for exclusive interviews and stories.
Karole Passmore is a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles and short stories, interviewing local people, and researching non-fiction subject matter– preferably historical. Graduate of RHS, Ivy Tech Richmond, and Earlham College– with a major in History, Karole has spent most of her life in Wayne County and enjoys the quaint atmosphere of a small town.
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