by Lorie Lewis Ham
This being our Earth Day issue it seemed a perfect time to feature another local business that does upcycling, and brings new life to antique and vintage items–the Two Sisters Vintage Home & Garden Antique Shop, which is located in Clovis, right on the Sanger border. We took some time to chat with Janet Mitchell and Suzan Blair who own Two Sisters.
KRL: How and why did you come up with the idea of starting Two Sisters?
TS: Janet’s in-laws had passed away, and she had a large home full of furniture and miscellaneous to dispose of. Suzan owns the building our shop is in, and the space our shop is currently in was empty. We moved everything from Janet’s in-laws home to the shop and had an estate sale periodically. Over a few months we both brought items from our homes to sell and other purchases we had made. We have both always been big collectors and garage sale addicts. We were only open periodically, then more and more customers encouraged us, and we finally became a full-time business.
KRL: Why this particular type of store?
TS: Both of us love antiques, vintage items, yard/estate sales.
KRL: How long did it take when you had your idea until you actually opened?
TS: The idea was a matter of convenience at first, to find a home for the contents of Janet’s in-laws home. It was probably a year before we actually named and opened the shop.
KRL: What exactly does your store carry?
TS: We carry any type of vintage, and sometimes not so vintage, furniture, home accessories, and garden items. We don’t have anything “brand new” in the shop, everything is used.
KRL: I understand that you do upcycling. Can you tell us more about that?
TS: We love to take a piece of furniture that has seen better days. For example an old maple table…we paint it, possibly distress it, and give it a whole new look. It’s amazing what a beat up old piece of furniture can be changed into.
KRL: When did the store open?
TS: The store opened about seven years ago. We have gone through various stages of times and days that we are open, but for the last three years we have been open Wednesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
KRL: Do you have a background in this sort of business?
TS: Neither of us have a background in retail, other than working at part-time jobs way back in high school! We have both worked in offices of some sort, in clerical/bookkeeping positions. Suzan and her husband owned Kings River Propane for many years until they retired. Janet worked for KRP part-time and was a substitute teacher.
KRL: What makes your store unique?
TS: Our store is unique in that you never know what you will find on any given visit. We have had a 6′ tall metal rooster, an out-house, vintage pyrex, turquoise jewelry, vintage hankies, goat carts, birdhouses, Hoosier cabinets, and vintage metal patio furniture just to name a few items. We have a pretty quick turn-over in items. Our prices are very competitive, and we are always willing to negotiate to help our customers out. We have a lay-a-way program.
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
TS: This is our seventh year of our swap meet. We hold the Two Sisters Second Saturday Swap Meet on the second Saturday of every month, rain or shine. We have about 40 spots that are available to vendors. The only restrictions are no food, no clothes and no brand new items. It is a great day, with lots of treasures to hunt through. Vendors must sign up in advance, as spots are limited.
KRL: This is our Earth Day issue, do you do anything else that you feel ties in with that?
TS: We have a small room designated for books. All books are donated by the public, kind of a recycled library. All paperbacks are free and hardbacks are $2.00 each. Many people come in every week with their book bag and drop off what they have already read and fill the bag up with new books to read. We also have a “free” box that we set out front every day. Items that we come across that don’t fit in with our shop are placed in the box for the public to have. A big part of our inventory is made up of furniture that would normally end up in the dump. We take the item and repair it, sand it, paint it, and bring it back to life.
KRL: Where exactly are you located?
TS: We are located at 5054 N. Academy, Suite A, Clovis, CA. We are on the northeast corner of Shaw and Academy. If you cross Shaw to the south, you are in Sanger, so we are right on the borderline.
KRL: Do you have a website or any other social media outlets?
TS: We do not have a website. We do have a Facebook Page and an Instagram Account: TWO_SISTERS_VINTAGE Our e-mail is twosistersclovis@gmail[dot]com
KRL: Any special events coming up you’d like to highlight?
TS: Our last swap meet was Saturday, April 9, and the next one will be Saturday, May 14. We also participate in the Sanger Art Hop and Shop which is always the last Saturday of the month.
KRL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
TS: Thank you for interviewing us! I might just add that the best part about our shop has been the people we have met. We have regulars that come in like clockwork: Rosie and Cliff every Saturday morning, Gayle every Thursday morning, Betty every other Wednesday, etc. Our customers are like family, and we have gotten to know details of their lives, just as they have gotten to know us. We have a sign in our shop that our mom gave us, it says, “This is our happy place!” and that really is true. We both love being at the shop and look forward to seeing our customers come in to see what’s new.