Antique and gift shop opens in downtown Burns
by Samantha White
Bedknobs & Broomsticks opened in downtown Burns Aug. 18. Owner Kristy Cronin (right) and partners Robin Stoner and Paul Kohler are applying their creative efforts toward making a unique place for art, holiday decor, and much more. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)
Owner Kristy Cronin said she wants Bedknobs & Broomsticks to be “a very magical, fun place that just has a little bit of everything for everybody.”
Located at 77 W. Washington St. in Burns, the antique and gift shop sits sandwiched between Rhojo’s and the law office of Martin E. Thompson Jr.
Bedknobs & Broomsticks began business Monday, Aug. 18. However, regular business hours are Tuesdays through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cronin said the shop’s alliterative name was taken from the title of an animated Disney movie.
“It’s such a cute movie, and it inspired me,” Cronin said, explaining that she hopes the shop will offer a similar sense of whimsy.
Cronin grew up in Bend, but she and her family visited Harney County frequently throughout her childhood because her father had a booth at the fair. She said her mother loved the area and enjoyed receiving “handmade goodies” from the local ladies.
Cronin moved to Harney County in the early 1980s when she met her husband. The couple originally resided in Drewsey.
“It’s a cute, little, sweet town,” Cronin said regarding Drewsey. “There are old men and goats out there, but you don’t know which is the other,” she added with a laugh.
Cronin, who now lives in Burns, accumulated a lot of experience working with the public through careers in the restaurant and social services industries. However, she said she found her calling when she started working for Bonnie Angleton at Ribbons & Roses Unlimited.
“I’ve never worked at such a fun place in all my life,” Cronin said. “It’s been wonderful to help Bonnie down there. Her and [her husband], Bill, are absolutely good people and characters on top of it.”
Cronin said Angleton inspired and encouraged her to open her own retail store.
Creating a family business
Cronin, who said she wants to be self-sufficient “more than anything in the world,” worked toward the goal of opening Bedknobs & Broomsticks for about three years.
“We did this without borrowing a dime,” she said. “We decided to put our heart and soul into it.”
She explained that her house was “loaded” with her mother and grandmother’s antiques, and she wanted to open a shop to sell some of them. She added that she also wanted to provide a venue for local artists to sell their creations year-round.
“I think our specialty is going to be the fact that we have local artists and artisans and quite a few homemade, fun items that I think people will enjoy,” Cronin said.
She added that the shop will also serve as an artistic outlet for her and her family.
“My whole family is very creative,” she said. “We just decided to use the creative effort toward the store. That’s what inspired us to do it from the beginning.”
Cronin is selling her homemade scarves and potpourri. Her daughter, Leilani, and son, John, will also add their art to the inventory.
Cronin’s other son, Paul Kohler, is a partner in the business, and the mother and son team will collaborate on a couple of creative crafts to stock the store’s shelves. For example, they plan to re-purpose old doors and construct their own line of themed cabinets, which should be available for sale by next spring or summer.
“My son is an awesome designer,” Cronin said. She added that he was “hugely instrumental” in getting the shop up and running.
Robin Stoner is another partner in the Bedknobs & Broomsticks business. Although they aren’t technically related, Cronin said she and Stoner “adopted each other.”
She added that, “Robin will show up on your front porch when you are in most need. She’ll stop in the middle of a project to help you with yours.”
Cronin said designing the store with Stoner has been the most enjoyable thing about owning the business so far.
Stoner is selling her own lines of jewelery and decorative boxes in the shop. Her mother’s art, jewelery, photographs and paintings are also included in the store’s inventory.
Cronin said she expects Bedknobs & Broomsticks to evolve as new merchandise is added.
In addition to art and antiques, she hopes to sell everything from candles and incense to “man cave” items, such as swords. She added that body jewelery has already been a popularly-purchased product. And with orders coming in from Ohio Wholesale Inc. and Victorian Trading Company, customers can expect to see a slew of new items on the store’s shelves.
For the fun of it
The shop will also serve as a site for celebratory events.
For example, one of Cronin’s goals is to make Bedknobs & Broomsticks “Halloween Headquarters” this fall. Employees will gear up for the holiday by dawning festive garb throughout the month of October. The shop is also hosting a Halloween party, and everyone is invited to stop in and share a spooky ghost story.
Cronin said she’s equally enthusiastic about Christmas, and she’s already planning fun festivities for the upcoming holiday season.
She also plans to hold Victorian-style tea parties.
“We want to get the public involved,” Cronin explained, adding that she’ll find “any old excuse” to host a gathering.
Rolling with the punches
When it comes to owning her own business, Cronin said she decided to just “roll with the punches” and enjoy it.
“We hope it will be fun for everyone involved,” she said.
Her advice to other entrepreneurs is: “Don’t let the economy frighten you. Do what you’re going to do.”