Local art studio makes antique items new again

Margaret Baker and Mary Dale Reynolds, Bowling Green residents, co-own the Resurrection Shop on Nutwood Street in Bowling Green, Ky. The Resurrection Shop features antique pieces as well as art from local artists, and offers arts and crafts classes.

Drake Kizer

Margaret Baker has always had an interest in art, and nearly five years after she approached her sister-in-law Mary Dale Reynolds about opening a business together, The Resurrection Shop has become a flourishing art studio in Bowling Green.

Baker is a Bowling Green native. She has been a pharmacist for decades, but in 2013, she decided she also needed an artistic outlet in her life.

Baker enjoyed restoring old furniture, and though her original mission was to bring chalk paint she used to the local community, she said The Resurrection Shop’s overall business model has evolved over time.

“The shop originally started off selling a chalk type of paint that people would have to travel to Louisville or Nashville to find,” Baker said. “What you start off planning on doing and where you make your money are two different things though. The shop has since evolved into more of an artistic studio where we can empower artists and teach them how they can make money at their craft too.”

The shop often offers artistic classes and workshops, and spots in these classes have quickly become a hot commodity.

One class allows people in the community to bring in a small piece of furniture and learn how to restore it with chalk paint. The shop also hosts local artists and enables them to teach other types of classes, including canvas painting and macramé. Reynolds said showing people that anyone can be an artist is her favorite part of the classes.

“Everyone has a creative side to them,” Reynolds said. “They sometimes defy that, but they do have it. We love seeing a guest realize that they can do something with their hands and create art. Whatever they come in here to do, we help them understand the techniques, and they can go home with that.”

Reynolds is originally from Jackson, Tennessee, but the duo has been acquainted since she married Baker’s oldest brother years ago. The pair have forged a close bond, but Reynolds said she was still a bit surprised when her sister-in-law approached her about starting a business together. She was unsure about chalk paint, but after Baker showed her a finished piece, Reynolds said she was sold.

“When she approached me, I didn’t know what in the world she was talking about when she said chalk paint,” Reynolds said. “I have always loved doing things with my hands, but I had been struggling with finding something to incorporate my talents in. She asked me if I wanted to do something fun and come on this journey with her, and I said, ‘Yep, let’s do it.’ So, we teamed up, and here we are.”

The Resurrection Shop sells paint as well as gift items, home décor and furniture the women have recovered from various sources. Baker and Reynolds “love the hunt” for the items that comprise their inventory. The team leaves no stone unturned, and once an item is found, it’s cleaned up and restored, which Baker says is one of her favorite parts of having the shop.

“I like re-doing furniture that would be a castaway,” Baker said. “A lot of items would usually end up in some landfill, so whether it be a color change or different embellishments, I love being able to give things a second chance.”

Being family means the relationship between Baker and Reynolds is different from a lot of  people who co-own a business. Both women agree they are not particularly similar, but they also believe their differences have contributed to the shop’s overall success.

“We see things differently, but we respect each other,” Reynolds said. “That’s very important, and we have a great relationship because of it. We’re different, but we work together.”

“As far as design and décor, she is more Southern sophisticated, whereas I am kind of eclectic and off-the-wall sometimes,” Baker said. “She brings many talents to the table that are different than mine, so I think we complement each other on different aspects.”

The Resurrection Shop is located at 1216 Nutwood St. The business has since outgrown the cramped space, but Baker said she is hesitant to move elsewhere because she has heard from so many customers that part of the shop’s charm is the “cute little place” it is housed in.

The shop has been around for almost five years, but the ladies indicated that many of their visitors each day are people who have just heard about their business recently. Daily foot traffic varies, but both women said that their business has developed a solid reputation.

“It’s been amazing because people follow us from other states,” Reynolds said. “When they’re driving through, they make a point in stopping in our store, which is incredible. Some days we have more people from out of state or out of town than we do locals come in.”

Baker said most customers learn about them by word of mouth.

“We have quite a few repeat customers, but our products are not something that people are going to need all the time,” Baker said. “That makes it tough, but somebody will see something that they love and ask where it came from. So, word of mouth is how we get a lot of customers.”

Marilyn Baker, another one of Margaret Baker’s sisters-in-law, works in sales for Event Photo Market. Her office is located next door to The Resurrection Shop, but she said that was merely a coincidence. Marilyn Baker has known Margaret Baker and Reynolds for 40 years, and she said that the team’s success is no surprise because both women are such hard workers.

“They can take old stuff and make it look great,” Marilyn Baker said. “Everything they sell is one-of-a-kind, so you won’t find it anywhere else. The girls love what they do, and I think that they’re there as much for the enjoyment as they are for the business. To me, that makes a world of difference.”

Reynolds said she is very thankful Baker asked her to be a part of the venture almost five years ago. To Baker, the shop’s success should encourage people to chase their dreams, regardless of where they might be in their lives.

“We did this at an older age, so I don’t think it’s ever too late in life to decide you want to do something different,” Baker said. “Just because I may be pigeonholed as a pharmacist, that doesn’t mean I don’t have other things I could do. I don’t think you should ever be afraid to start a business or do something you’re passionate about. It is really never too late.”

Features reporter Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected]. Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.