I swear my sister has a magic wand! She must keep it behind the counter
of her antique shop, Rē Antiques. Her name is Heidi and she has owned this store for 19 years. She truly is the fairy godmother of antiques! I never really paid much attention to her business. I mean, I was busy with my own teaching career, three children, a husband and a dog. I would stop in every now and then, do some shopping, chat with the staff and customers, but her store was all the way on the other side of Rhode Island from me!! Recently I took a break from teaching to focus more attention on my family, and as I was looking for something part time to keep me busy, Heidi asked me if I would like to work in the shop. Hmmm…. I adore her, and we have always had a wonderful relationship, but the only thing I knew about antiques was that I would soon be one! What the heck! I decided to give it a shot.
I began working in the store 3 days a week about a year ago. I knew I was in for an intense education of antiques and the retail world, but what I didn’t realize was that I would gain amazing new insight on my sister, the person that I had known for 47 years already! On the days that we worked in the store together, I watched as customers took time out of their days to visit with her. Sometimes they would come in looking for particular pieces, or just to browse, and would catch up with Heidi as they passed the checkout counter. But I began to realize that many customers arrived on a regular basis, not necessarily looking for pieces for their home, although it is difficult to leave Heidi’s store empty handed, but simply to visit with HER. Right from the beginning, I loved watching my big sister interact with clients. I was so proud to witness the fondness they had for her and the unconditional attention she gave to each person. Much like a fairy godmother she listened intently, shared experiences, gave advice, helped solve problems, whether it was related to home design, where to go on vacation, or how to raise amazing children.
Heidi makes an effort to connect with each and every person who comes through the door. Sometimes the connection is an initial one, someone who has never been in the store before, and whom she has never met. Heidi smiles and draws them into her world, asking question, sharing stories and funny anecdotes. Bibbity Bobbity Boo!! In minutes, they appear to have known each other for years! The spell has been cast and most likely, this customer will return. Other connections have been nurtured for years, some for as long as the store has been opened, or even longer. These clients visit Heidi on a regular basis, some weekly to bring Heidi her favorite tea or or to show pictures of how beautiful their recent Rē purchases look in their home. These clients often come bearing gifts, dinner invitations, and always a warm hug and the need to catch up on the latest with Heidi as well as share their own.
I wasn’t surprised to see how much the Rē customers loved my sister. I already knew she was a remarkable woman. She has raised 2 amazing children, whom I am proud to call my niece and nephew, and a doting husband. She is adored by her nieces and nephews and makes time to take each of them, one at a time, on “special” days with her, an event they anxiously await. She is an attentive, supportive, loving daughter who is constantly making sure her parents and in laws are well cared for and happy. But I didn’t realized that the rest of the world was being treated the same way by her, with kindness, generosity and careful attention, and reciprocating. I started to understand the significance of her store's name as I Rē connected with my sister in new ways.
Heidi has always had a passion for art and design. She has a well trained eye and fills her store with beautiful and unique treasures. There is truly something for everyone in Rē, whether your vibe is mid century modern, art deco, recency, industrial, traditional or primitive. Whether you are filling a farmhouse, a beach cottage, a Newport mansion, or a loft in SoHo, you will find something at Rē. Better yet, Heidi will assist you! Without ever having seen your home, she will help you find the perfect lamp for your entry way table, or chairs that complete your dining room. I have watched Heidi furnish entire houses without ever stepping foot in them. She listens, envisions, and off she goes with her clients through the store suggesting the perfect pieces, turning drab spaces into fab spaces with the wave of her magic wand.
So whether you need to create the perfect space in your home, solve a problem that has been nagging you, or transform a pumpkin into a chariot, and your own personal fairy godmother has not yet appeared, I will share mine with you. You won't be disappointed, I promise!