Local artisans shine at Vintage and Vines
Helping the Hurt
Story by Keren Lee Dreyer For Jean Ann Gallo, owner of Vintage and Vines at 623 Broad Avenue in Belle Vernon, PA, retail has always been a passion. Armed with a degree in Marketing from Seton Hill University, Gallo brought her green thumb, eye for quality vintage items, and love of locally made and made in USA products to the avenue in 2013. As she describes “I was driving down Broad, and 719 was empty (her store’s previous location). I just rented that building and started my own antique co-op.” Additionally, Gallo sold dried flowers and arrangements crafted from flowers she grew herself. After moving to her current location, Gallo saw an opportunity to expand the shop’s offerings and vendors when a clothing boutique next door closed. “The landlord let me put a hole in the wall and we moved over there. We have antiques and five (local) artisans. We expanded the shop on this side to full service fresh flowers, dried and silk flowers, and artisans and gifts. They’re mostly made in the USA, and I pride myself in carrying as much USA made product as possible. There are local artists with soaps, local teas, and honey - Crimson Creek (Apiaries) is here. There are quite a few jewelry makers, including Wings, Strings, and Shiny Things; these two girls are local Belle Vernonites who are originally from here. Their jewelry is made from expired butterfly wings. Things like that, I like to carry.” As Gallo describes, Vintage and Vines is not a junk store and is not a craft store. Neither is it Teleflora or FTD. Instead, everything inside is “very different and very unique...I like the mix of elegant and rustic. That’s kind of what this is, more to the rustic side.” Gallo still grows her own flowers for fresh and dried arrangements, and has added bridal consultation to the shop’s offerings with “a lot more weddings on the books.” Completing the circle of life, so to speak, is additional flower arrangement business fostered by nearby funer-
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Lisa J. Buday al homes. Gallo sees Belle Vernon as a “nice town” with a lot of other businesses around. “We’ve really grown into something that is a destination now. When I came into town there was really nothing.” However, with two other antique shops joining forces, community events were planned which have been running for five years now. Together, the three antique shops have “four events per year that everybody on the street participates in. For two of the events, we invite people to set up in front of our shop. There are antique people, baked goods, and more...it’s really grown and is now called Antiques and Artists on the Avenue. We get about 500 people and, in a town like this, that’s a good number of people to be having stroll up the streets all day.” With Belle Vernon’s growth and the increasing popularity of Vintage and Vines, Gallo’s aesthetic and business acumen has become a rewarding experience. “I’m working for myself and make my own decisions. I don’t know many self-employed people who don’t like being self-employed. You work hard but it’s worth it. My customers will say
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‘You can tell you really like what you do.’ My name is on everything that leaves here, so I take pride in what I do. To find out about upcoming events and view pictures of stunning flower arrangements - find Vintage and Vines on facebook at: facebook.com/vintageandvinesflowershop/ And to browse locally produced and high quality, made in the USA products, along with a selection of vintage items, head over to 623 Broad Avenue in Belle Vernon, where the parking is free.
THE CAST IRON GALLERY HAS OPENED IN BROWNSVILLE, PA. We would like to invite you to visit us at 200 Bank Street. We are open Saturday & Sunday from 12 p.m - 4 p.m. Weekdays by Appointment. Come explore Brownsville and be inspired by the rich history. There are new photos by Stephen Beckman, the creator of the gallery, and Charles Hoopes, his business partner. Our photos are on the website and available for purchase. castirongallery.com Questions? Call 973-652-5324. We are searching for old photos of the area and artifacts to coincide with the same. Schedule your free tour today!
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