Our opening day draws closer, and all the finishing touches for our redecoration are finally falling into place. We are extremely pleased with how our vision is turning out, thanks to the many hours of hard work put in by our contractors, family, neighbors, and friends. This has been quite the undertaking, and our journey from pharmacy to fiber market has certainly held its share of challenges and rewards.
In 2011, Terry Owen began discussing with neighbors Dave and Sandy Schwartz (owners of Schwartz Jewelers and the property formerly Visconti-Lechler Pharmacy) the merits of establishing a high-end textile store on the Avenue. On a rainy morning in April, Terry purchased over two dozen shelving units and tables from Borders Books and Music’s going-out-of-business sale, and moved them into 6106 Hamilton Avenue (her twenty-year-old son, a friend, and a borrowed truck provided the muscle, with Terry directing). Terry’s determination won the Schwartz’s support, and the sale of the building was finalized in October 2011.
There was much to be done. The former pharmacy had stood empty for two and a half years. The gray and pink wall paper and speckled paint job from the 1960s were peeling. A leak in the roof had caused water damage in one corner. Displaced ceiling tiles dangled speakers that had been used to announce prescriptions to browsing customers. Greeting card racks stretched from one wall across almost half the square footage, and the newly acquired, solid wood Borders fixtures now stood sturdily on carpet in sore need of replacement.
In retrospect, Terry’s sense of timing may seem “unusual.” The 2011-2012 school year was her thirtieth and final year of teaching before announcing her retirement, and a year during which one child moved home while the other joined the Marine Corps, and over the course of which Terry herself had two carpel-tunnel surgeries. However, steady progress continued through the fall of 2011 and winter 2012.
We have been extremely busy. The dangling speakers came down and ceiling tiles were replaced. Cutting tables and roll racks joined the converted bookcases and shelves, and all of the fixtures were shuttled back and forth (and back and forth) across the floor as the old carpet was removed, and a new pad and carpet were laid down. The pharmacy chemical lab’s plumbing remained in place, but was transformed to service a sink for fiber dyeing projects and classes. All of the walls were repainted. Most of the card racks were removed, although some have remained to display knitting patterns and art. Outside, the walls and windows were scrubbed down, the frosted neon lettering was removed, and Silk Road Textiles signs and motif decals were applied. Our planters were replanted.
Ralph Visconti Jr did leave one historic feature in the store – an heirloom penny scale dating at least as far back as the 1930s. He has allowed Silk Road Textiles to keep this classic piece in trust for him, a proud testament to our deep community roots.
Robert Kaufman batiks were the first fabrics to arrive in May 2012 – our fabric store finally had fabric in it! Since then, preparation has been an absolute whirlwind. Our “From Pharmacy to Fiber Market” FaceBook photo album offers a sneak preview, but to truly experience our transformation to fiber market you must come visit us! Our Grand Opening Celebration hours are
Friday, July 20 noon – 5PM
Saturday, July 21 10AM – 5PM
Sunday, July 22 noon – 5PM.
Need directions? We’ve got ’em right here.
See you very, very soon
Silk Road Textiles Team