New business on Main Street plans grand opening event from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Sallie Deuel seems remarkably calm for a woman about to open her own business.
“I feel very comfortable about it,” Deuel said in a recent interview inside her new business, the Philomath Emporium. “So much of it just evolved to this point. All these great people came my way.”
The Philomath Emporium at 1120 Main St. — the location of the former Philomath Gun Shop — is a market where vendors offer artwork, antiques, estate-sale items, woodworks, retail home décor and so forth. The Emporium will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Regular hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Deuel, 69, is focused on keeping matters relatively simple for her eight vendors: She’s just charging them rent and not taking a commission on sales — a common practice among other antique malls.
“I just want the rent money and I’ll take care of the rest,” she said. “It’s simpler that way.”
And that’s a result of her own experience as a vendor in other locations.
Deuel caught the antiquing bug during a stint in London, where her former husband worked as an aide to an admiral. The admiral’s wife, it turned out, was an antiques buff with a nose for great buys. Deuel caught the bug and, upon returning stateside, spent time in Virginia selling wares in antique malls in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
When her current husband, John, landed a job at Oregon State University (he’s the recycling program supervisor), she set up shop at the Lafayette Schoolhouse Vintage and Antique Mall in Lafayette. But commission fees and other charges — not to mention the 45-minute commute both ways — left her disillusioned and she closed her operation there in December 2019.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, “and then I just didn’t do anything in 2020 and got incredibly bored. I thought, you know, I just can’t be retired yet, I’m too young.”
So in February 2021, she rented the caboose on Buchanan Avenue in Corvallis to launch another antique mart, but business at the location was slow. She closed that operation a few months later but is grateful for the experience: “It got me interested again, got me off my bum, got the garage cleaned out.”
In the summer of 2021, she noticed that the building that had housed the Philomath Gun Shop was for sale. She closed the deal in late August.
Since then, she’s worked to renovate the building, inside and out. The white exterior walls with their red stripes have been painted colors she prefers, green and what she calls an “orangey” hue. She installed new siding and windows. The bars that used to line the windows in the building’s gun shop days have been repurposed as trellises in a new garden area.
She put out a call for vendors using old-fashioned methods — a sign outside the building — and newfangled ones such as a posting on Facebook Marketplace. She was gratified by the response and now has lined up eight local vendors for the space, including two who will use the barn behind the building as shop space.
Just as important, she said, is that it’s a group that has good chemistry. “It’s a certain kind of person who likes this stuff, and so we just all clicked and everybody gets along,” she said.
“This whole thing’s been fun,” she added. “I’ve never had buyer’s remorse. … I’ve always had a really good feeling about it and my dad, I think he’s looking down on me, proud I did this, because he made money in real estate and I do think it’s a good investment.
“It’s just fun. That’s what I want to do: I want us to all have fun.”