“Can we go thrift shopping?” my sister Mataya asked over the phone as we planned our weekend together last Friday.
I responded with an enthusiastic “yes,” and started to throw ideas her way. We could go to Goodwill, of course, and maybe the Salvation Army.
“There’s a new place called Ivy & Lace I want to check out, too,” I said.
“It’s a vintage place,” I said. She agreed to tag along and on Saturday we made the little shop our first visit of the day.
I opened up the door at 173 Park Street, Suite 3, and a little bell tinkled happily. The space was decorated beautifully, with artwork on every wall and small scenes set up to show customers how they could adorn their bedroom, dining room, kitchen and other spaces with vintage items. Old skeleton keys, antique glass bottles, tea sets, giant steamer trunks, worn secretary desks, colorful hutches and floral linens filled the space with history and whimsy, two of my favorite things.
I attribute my love for thrifting and vintage items to my mother and father, respectively. My mother can’t pass up a good deal and my father collects all things antique, from furniture to glass bottles.
I’m easily drawn to shops like Ivy & Lace, so it was only fitting that I visit one in Bangor. The fact that the shop relocated to Bangor in December made it even better, because there was the possibility that I had discovered something that Bangorians might not know about yet.
Walking into Ivy & Lace was like stepping into my parents’ home, so in that respect, it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Ivy & Lace is owned and operated by Kathy Reeves and Victoria Roy, a mother-daughter duo who opened the shop “on a whim,” as Roy said. Reeves came up with the idea and the two first opened in a tiny 100 square foot shop in Brewer last fall. They quickly realized the space was too small for their intentions, so they moved to Park Street in Bangor.
“We definitely upgraded,” Roy said. Their new space is about 1000 square feet and fits their needs well. Roy said that both she and her mother love home decor and decorating with things that have a history behind them.
The mother-daughter partnership plays to each of their strengths, with Reeves doing the leg work and attending auctions and estate sales to acquire merchandise for the shop and Roy designing the spaces to reflect what a home could look like filled with vintage items.
“It’s almost therapeutic for me to figure it all out,” Roy said of designing the spaces.
“I want people to see how it can work in their home,” she added. “It’s really hard for people to picture how things go in their home — that’s why we have HGTV.”
Roy walked me around the shop and pointed out the different space she had made to make the place “feel like you’re walking into a home,” she said. At the shop’s entrance is what Roy called an entryway and parlor set-up, with cozy chairs and furniture one might find in such places. To the right was a bedroom, with a vanity, a bed dressed up with feminine blankets and side tables and other baubles. Turning the corner brought me into a kitchen and dining room arrangement, with tables, hutches, vintage bread boxes and dishes, among other items. On the left side of the store was a more masculine design focusing on travel items, like globes and old maps and things one might find in an old-fashioned study, like darkly stained furniture pieces and books.
Interspersed throughout the rest of the space were tons of unique and whimsical finds.
“We don’t call ourselves an antique store because we don’t put big price tags on everything,” Roy said. Most everything in the shop is reasonably priced, and even though I didn’t intend to walk away with a purchase, I ended up leaving with a vintage bread box and a canister set for my kitchen.
Roy said that the response from the Bangor community has been wonderful so far, but the hardest part of owning the business is getting people through the door.
“That’s why I do so much on social media,” she said. The power of social media is definitely something to be reckoned with. Roy posts photos of the inside of the shop to try to get people to come check it out — her methods certainly worked on me, as that was where I first found out about the place.
With several loyal customers already, Roy hopes that the shop will start to draw in newcomers to check out what it has to offer. Ivy & Lace is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and I would be kidding myself if I said I won’t be visiting again soon.