There are times one can walk into a small business, and it just feels like home. Millsboro’s Past & Present is like that — and it’s not only because it was once, in fact, a home.
“Well, the house was built in 1939,” explained Judi Thoroughgood, owner of Past & Present. “It was the Truitt home.”
Thoroughgood actually owns the store with her husband, John, and gives a lot of credit to Debbie Lewis for helping the store operate. The Thoroughgoods bought the building in 2016, poured resources and effort into transforming it into its current state, and fully opened for business earlier this year.
Situated on Main Street, right across from the Dairy Queen. Past & Present offers “an eclectic mix of country decor and coastal living,” said Thoroughgood. Each room seems to have its own identity — ranging from Amish furniture to candles to furnishings to custom-braided rugs.
The experience of simply absorbing all the merchandise is worth a visit unto itself, and the cozy feeling one can only get from shopping at a small business is only enhanced when shoppers are greeted by the couple’s two dogs, Grace and Riley.
Thoroughood also highlighted Lewis for her efforts and talent in making wreaths and custom floral arrangements. She added that Past & Present has gotten a lot of business making arrangements for local cemeteries.
She originally owned a store in Long Neck, until she began selling items on a consignment basis at a store in Gumboro. When the owner of that store decided to retire, Thoroughgood took it over, before opening the shop in Millsboro.
“It’s kind of my therapy,” she explained. “John’s not retired yet, so I have no interest in retiring or anything. I love doing this, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I feel that way.”
In fact, John has now moved his own office into the upstairs of Past & Present, allowing the whole family, including Grace and Riley, to spend more time together.
“He’s not just ‘Thoroughgood,’” said Judi, discussing her husband. “He’s ‘thoroughly good.’”
And the Thoroughgoods have fully-embraced the past of the building. Three wall surfaces in the house were made from the former floor of the house’s attic, and the sales counter and porch floor were constructed from old doors. It is a marriage of family, past and present — and Judi Thoroughgood sees a lot of hope in the future of Millsboro.
“Millsboro is growing and changing,” she said. “People are buying in to what’s happening in this town, and I think you’re seeing a lot of pride in these downtown businesses, and up on the highway.”
Past & Present is located at 108 Main Street in Millsboro. They can be reached at (302) 934-8215, and they have an online presence at www.pastandpresentmillsboro.com. The store’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, but Thoroughgood said they plan to stay open later on Tuesdays, when the Dairy Queen Cruz-N is running.