Finding and restoring items of years past is a labor of love for Denise Smith, the owner of SOS Vintage which is set to open next month in Webster City.
Her passion for vintage items began about 15 years ago at a Victorian house in Marshalltown that was long past its prime. The house had been converted into duplexes and had been re-muddled over the years. Smith and her husband set out to restore the house. Their work included refinished all of the house's hardwood floors, restoring some molding, trim and more.
At the time, Smith said it was hard to find old house parts in Iowa. The couple advertised and found many items to use.
Denise Smith, owner of SOS Vintage, paints and prepares for the business to open near Memorial Day.
"When we did find something we could reuse and reincorporate into the home, we did, and then we found ourselves with an excess of items," Smith said. "We thought, 'What do we do with these?' That was kind of the beginning of our journey."
Smith worked at Marshalltown schools for 12 years. After her last child was born two and a half years ago, she took some time off to be with her kids. She enjoyed that time and used it to find something to do that she was passionate about. She found that in building and repurposing vintage furniture.
"My favorite part of the job is tearing it apart and then putting it back together," Smith said.
However, working on the furniture itself is just a portion of the process. To find these items, Smith attends auctions, estate sales, salvages and picks items where she can. She's been to many places in the state in pursuit of antique items. At an antiques show in Gilbert, Smith met Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce Director Deb Brown when she sat on one of the benches Smith had built. Brown encouraged her to purchase a shop, and Smith did just that.
Smith and her family are busy working on the interior of SOS Vintage, which is located at the corner of Second Street and Des Moines Street. She closed on the building in late March and has been painting and rehabilitating the building ever since. When it's done, Smith said it won't look anything like a thrift shop.
"I want it to be clean and elegant and different and unique," Smith said. "I want it to not look like a garage sale. We want to be able to offer an upscale shopping venue for folks that like antiques, vintage, repurposed, recycled and custom furniture."
The business is shooting for a Memorial Day opening to coincide with Junquefest in Webster City. Smith said she will be interested in taking items on consignment and looking at items for appraisal or sale. She will also take custom orders for furniture. More information can be found on the SOS Vintage page on Facebook.