Posted: 12/11/2020 3:04:12 PM
MILLERS FALLS – Cindy Bayer was cleaning her barn in Greenfield when she noticed something funny. Not only were the old things she left on the curb quickly disappearing, but they were reappearing in the online stores of local dealers.
So she started her own sales in her barn. His store, Rustic Romance, has grown into a vintage furniture store over the past five years with customers from all over New England. Last week, Rustic Romance reopened in a storefront at 26 East Main St. in Millers Falls, providing it with amenities like warmth in the winter and convenient parking.
At first, when Bayer started working in the Greenfield barn, every item she sold was handpicked by her. She went to warehouse sales and picking trips in the Northeast and Midwest. She has also developed relationships with local artisans and researched items online from international sellers.
“I’m looking for pieces that speak to me, that grab my heart in one way or another,” Bayer explained. “I want this store to have a look and feel and merchandise that people can’t find anywhere else.”
Now that the store has become busier, Bayer also has “pickers” crisscrossing the northeast. Sometimes she gives them instructions to find certain types of items, and sometimes she is still surprised. Last week, a New Hampshire collector cleaned up an old factory full of Victrola record players.
“You never know what’s out there,” Bayer said. “And people have barns full of stuff everywhere.”
The style that has developed since the first barn sales is reflected in the name of the store, Bayer said. There is a basic “rustic” element like farmhouse furniture and ladders, but also decor items and themes that change with the seasons. Now parts of the store are filled with vintage Christmas decorations.
Because of the way Bayer has used social media to market her store, she said Rustic Romance is known locally and as far away as Boston, New York and Connecticut.
The clients are mostly women, she said, and they usually know they want a unique look. They may have a particular style in mind, or they may want unique pieces.
“They are looking for something that sets them apart from the rest,” Bayer said.
Rustic Romance at 26 East Main St. is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit rusticromanceatbayerfarm.com or call 413- 774-3259 during business hours.