Small Town News


Chatfield gift store expands into new space

The Chatfield News of Chatfield, Minnesota

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Bailiwick Gifts in Chatfield has recently been expanded to include more items in a larger space.

"We have room to sell our flea market furniture now," said Paula Bessingpas, owner of the recently-expanded business, where local residents and visitors to Chatfield can find giftware, antiques and vintage furniture to fill their homes.

She and her husband, Percy, had rented the north side of their gift shop building on the corner of Main and Third to real estate agent Todd Hadoff for quite some time. However, when Hadoff decided to relocate last fall, it was time for Paula to make a decision about her own business.

"We decided to do this when the realtor left," she said. "We'd been thinking about re-renting the building, but we just decided to use it ourselves."

Paula explained that by not renting the north side of the shop out -since she's long used the south side as a rather crowded home to Bailiwick Gifts - she gained display space and more merchandise to interest customers.

"I've had this shop from the time I had grade-school children to grandchildren, and we do flea markets - my husband, Percy, and I - and most of the bigger pieces were in our garage or in trailers," she said. "Even though I like selling furniture, the majority of it wasn't here because we didn't have room."

The decision to expand their store freed up some space in the Bessingpas garage and also gives people something new to look at in the store. She described the new items as being older or vintage furniture and the finish is "as is" so it's more affordable for customers to purchase it and finish it on their own. Many may even choose to leave it as it is.

Paula and Percy invested some elbow grease into making the former real estate office into a sunny extension of the gift shop.

"Percy cut a door into the back wall for access so people don't have to go around to the front again to get in. We painted the walls and we oiled the floor," she explained. "This side has nice windows, so it gets really nice and warm in here, so sunny."

Paula pointed out the space is a good place to display their flea market furniture, which they acquire and sell during their trips to a few flea markets each year. "We'll exchange items in and out as things sell," she added. "We've got everything from burlap wall pockets and table runners to lawn chairs and a wringer washing machine, some reproduction items, and the giftware, but that will stay in the other room."

Paula hopes that by expanding her store it will encourage more retail businesses to locate in downtown Chatfield. She noted visitors enjoy being able to shop at more than one store when passing through town, perusing the various wares that shopkeepers have to offer.

She invited longtime customers and new flea market junquers to stop in and see what's waiting for them in the bigger Bailiwick. "I'm excited to have people stop in...just come on in anytime I'm here," Paula concluded.

The shop is open every Thursday and Friday afternoon and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., unless Paula and Percy are at a flea market during the summer.

For more information, one may call (507) 867-3076.

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Original Publication Date: May 7, 2014

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