For years Carole, Donna, Ellie and Vickie have been the familiar faces around the Shop of the Four Sisters. They have spent countless hours scouring garage sales, antique shops and auction houses, looking for choice items that they could restore and sell. Four times a year, they open their shop to display these items for eager buyers. Recently, however, the four sisters sold their business to Kathy Hart of Fenwick Island. Although the conditions of the shop may change a bit, the atmosphere – and the name – will stay just as it’s been in the past.
“I moved to Fenwick about four years ago and bought a house on Coastal Highway,” said Hart this week. “When I bought my house, it was full of furniture I did not like! A friend of mine told me about the Four Sisters and I’ve been to every sale they’ve had since then. When I got a postcard saying that they were selling the business, I talked to Carol about purchasing.”
Hart explained, “Not only do the Four Sisters have their sales at the shop; they also have done in house design work through the year. They love doing the interior design but don’t have the time to keep up the shop. They’re going to continue helping me out, as well as consigning here.
“My daughter Wendy will be helping me with inventory and finances,” she noted. “My daughter-in-law, who is an artist, and a niece of mine, who loves to paint and design, will also be helping. We’re not four sisters, but we are family, and there will still be four of us!”
“When I finished talking to Carol and Donna, I was so excited about taking over,” Hart added. “I worked in real estate in Columbia, Md., but had never done any retail work. To get excited about a new career at this point in my life is very phenomenal. To be able to find something that you have a passion for is just great. The people that work with us are just amazing. Everyone has been so nice and helpful.”
Hart described the process of acquiring the treasures sold by the shop.
“A lot of our merchandise is supplied by consigners. We also buy from auctions and order things new from wholesale. Most of the things we buy are old, and we redo them. We’ll paint them, we’ll repair them, and we’ll rewire them, so that you get an antique flare. We set up little vignettes of rooms so that things flow together. We’ll also have a gift room for items which don’t fit in the vignettes.”
Each vignette room has a different theme and color scheme. All of the furniture, artwork, decorations and knick-knacks are designed to correlate. When customers enter a vignette, they see a complete idea, instead of a scattered collection of items.
“We’re open four times a year: Thanksgiving, Easter, Memorial Day and Labor Day,” noted Hart. “Everything you see is for sale, but we don’t sell anything in advance. People will ask to purchase things before the sales, but we want the shop to be completely ready when we open. If we sold a dresser and a mirror, then we would need to find another dresser and mirror to make that vignette complete. We also want everyone to have a fair shot at everything that’s for sale.”
“I think people really like that we keep our prices low. Even things that we buy new, we sell for less than you would find in most furniture stores,” said Hart. “We’re also going to add more artwork and bring in more consigners than the shop has had in the past. The concept is going to stay the same, though. It should be bigger, and different, although I wouldn’t say it could get any better than it has been for years.”
The shop will be open on Thanksgiving Day, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on the weekend that follows, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information on the shop can be found online at http://www.shopofthefoursisters.com/ or by calling (302) 541-8110.