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The Primitive Porch

By Catie Noyes • Editor Published: November 3, 2014 12:00 AM
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Tucked into the hustle and bustle of Main Street, Berlin, a quaint little shop that very much resembles a home sits full to the brim with the most unique home décor items. Your treasure hunt begins right on the front porch.

Inside and out, you will find a plethora of home décor items from the primitive to the rustic country and even antique finds. "Teresa has this magical knack for displaying the combination of items in a homey way that draws the customers in," said Lacey Marsh, public relations specialist for The Primitive Porch. "The customers love it."

Teresa and Gary Callihan started a business in Dresden, Ohio selling retired Longaberger baskets and small country crafts. They later built a store-front just across from the Longaberger homestead called The Basket Shoppe, which continues to sell baskets as well as Longaberger pottery, basket protectors and accessories.

Teresa and her husband began to explore the Berlin market and decided to expand into the area. Teresa had a love for all things crafty and wanted to explore the more primitive style. Not wanting to offend her already supportive cliental by abandoning the rustic country look and diving into the grungy primitive look, she chose to combine them both.

In January of 2011, Primitive Porch opened up shop in what was known to the locals and frequent shoppers as the Stitching Shop. Opening day just happened to fall during the Pajama Party event and The Primitive Porch found themselves hopping with customers.

Unfortunately, some of these customers thought they were visiting the former store which left them disappointed at first. While some ventured back out of the store, many stayed inside to see what new crafts had been brought to the area.

As people stumbled upon the little treasure tucked in between Country Craft Cupboard and Boyd and Wurthmann, they became pleasantly surprised with what they found. Country crafts, primitives and antiques all in one place and so much for the eye to see.

"I think what is unique about our store is that we carry both antiques and crafts," said Marsh. "There are plenty of craft stores and there are lots of antiques stores but you don't usually find the two together."

Antique items come from all over. The Primitive Porch enlists the help of pickers who venture out to find the most unique pieces. Teresa also attends a lot of auctions in search of the most unusual and authentic pieces.

Recently, people have been approaching the staff of The Primitive Porch with antiques of their own - old furniture or unique items from a relative's home or items they no longer have space for. The store has found this to be a convenient way to bring in new inventory.

The items move pretty quickly in the store. "If you don't buy it when you see it, it just might not be there when you come back for it," said Marsh.

You can find a lot of different items in one place. Reproduction pieces are popular among those who like the antique look but often can't afford the antique price tag. Luminara candles are also very popular and The Primitive Porch carries a non-traditional style that has a hand-dipped look to them.

Along with country styles and primitive crafts, The Primitive Porch carries artificial florals which can be made into unique arrangements by a talented staff member or bought individually to be incorporated into home décor projects. Handmade, American-made and locally-made items are the theme of the store.

Teresa's daughter, Lisa Browning, hand-paints designs on many of the repurposed pieces and a local artists hand-paints letter blocks that make great seasonal decorations or inspirational decorations. (The blocks feature words like, "Hope," "Joy," "Winter," "Summer," "Ho Ho Ho," and "Happy Holidays.") Other featured, exclusive items include handmade dolls by Teresa's sister and another local artisan.

Inventory changes every season and items move through the store very quickly. "We have a huge conglomerate of items that are changing all the time," explained Marsh.

The months leading up to the holiday season have proven to be busy ones. Whether they are looking for the perfect gifts or unique décor items, people are getting ready for the holidays and making the Primitive Porch one of their stops.

"We are always looking for new everyday items. We have a large following of our holiday items but we would like to see more traditional pieces that people can display in their homes year round," said Marsh.

Their following is even more prevalent among their Facebook page. New items and unique finds are posted to the page regularly and viewers often call in to order an item they saw. Because inventory is always changing, the store does not have a common ordering system in place online, but Marsh says, "we have cliental that reach out to us frequently and one gal calls every couple months to place an order."

"We have a lot of customers that come in off the street and love the store and tell others about us," said Marsh. The staff also keeps customers returning year-after-year.

"A lot of people really enjoy our staff. Many customers come in and recognize us by name," said Marsh. "We have a very helpful and knowledgeable staff that go the extra mile to help someone. We hate to have anyone not be able to find what they are looking for."

The Primitive Porch is located at 4815 E. Main Street, Berlin. Doors are open Monday- Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call 330-893-0150 or visit www.primporch.com and find them on Facebook.


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