‘The best form of recycling’

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Billie Shelton Clare Schwager in the new store — Gin and Tarnish — that she and sister Julia own and operate on the Main Street in Jewell.

“I love the old character and the architecture in these old buildings,”said Clare Schwager, one of the newest — and youngest — business owners on Main Street in Jewell as she looked around the large storefront with tall ceilings and windows that face the street where a new business opened recently.

Clare and her sister, Julia Schwager, have named their business Gin and Tarnish opened for business earlier this month. The unique shop features what Clare Schwager calls “bohemian vintage home goods.” Also featured are pieces that are mid-century modern.

“I like to think of it as the best form of recycling,” Schwager pointed out with quick smile as she described the eclectic inventory. “I like bohemian right now, and I also like mid-century modern. I think we have a good mixture here.”

While owning and operating their own business is something new for the sisters, they have been around a similar family business all their lives. Their parents own J.B. Knacker in Gilbert.

“Without them, I probably wouldn’t be able to do this,” said Schwager, 26. Sister Julia was unavailable during this visit to the store.

With that background, Schwager said that when the building in Jewell became available this fall, “we just decided to jump. We still have a lot to learn, and we’re learning as we go. It’s a business where there are no strict rules.”

What’s popular these days with fans of bohemian vintage home goods? “Persian rugs and mid-century modern,” Schwager answered, adding that they have sold a fair amount of both. Most of the buyers, she noted, range in age from 20s on up. “Most of our customers are pretty loyal, and we try to keep prices where people can buy what they like.”

For Schwager, finding just the right pieces to sell in her store is her favorite part of the business. “I think people are realizing that you don’t have to have new every year. Furniture from this era is better made and has more character. It has a story to it,” she stated about the popularity of what’s for sale in the unique store. “It’s always interesting, and I try to keep up on what’s popular.”

As for why the sisters decided to locate Gin and Tarnish in Jewell, Schwager said it is the location that appealed to them most. After earning her bachelor’s degree from ISU, she did some traveling in other countries before making the decision to start a business with sister Julia, who is 23.

JADE (Jewell Area Development Enterprise) was very helpful in getting them open for business, according to Schwage.

“We’re very excited to be here. I love the small town business,” she said.

Hours for the business are Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.