The owners of the Opera House Antiques & Uniques in Monroe City celebrated an anniversary and a grand opening.

The anniversary open house commerated seven years in business. The grand opening noted the opening of Back Stage Decor which features a cafe and antiques with a farmhouse flair.

The owners of the Opera House Antiques & Uniques in Monroe City celebrated an anniversary and a grand opening.

The anniversary open house commerated seven years in business. The grand opening noted the opening of Back Stage Decor which features a cafe and antiques with a farmhouse flair.

Back in 2010, five friends got together to discuss a plan for opening an antique store. But in the end only three of the friends completed the project and Opera House Antiques & Uniques became a reality.

At that time the building at 208 S. Main St. was for sale. So the three industrious owners, Georgia Rothweiler, Penny DeLaporte and Sally Hawker, rolled up their sleeves, bought the building and got to work. And there was a lot of work to be done. They tore down and added walls, papered, painted and decorated. The end result was astonishing and well worth their labors. In addition to a large area where they could display many of their personal antique and unique finds, they built over 40 booths for use by vendors.

“We wanted to save this historic building and help keep the downtown area alive,” Hawker said.

It appears they have accomplished this goal as a register for customers reveal they come from a wide area including Virginia, Nevada, Utah to name a few states represented.

“We have a lot of people who are getting ready to retire in the area, fishermen and their families and many campers,” said DeLaporte of their customers. “Also, Route 24 is still a popular highway and a lot of travelers like to stop in small towns and we are a nice stopping place.”

Added Hawker: “In the beginning, some of our friends offered to bring items in to get us started and we contacted people when we saw their booths at various events. As we got to be known, vendors started contacting us.”

When the business opened they had about 25 vendors and presently have over 40.

Vendors rent booth space by the month and are responsible for taking care of their merchandise and keeping it in order.

“They usually check on their booth at least twice a month. If they find items that are not moving they will restock the booth,” said Hawker who serves as bookkeeper for the businesses. She added, “some of the vendors have been with us from the start.”

“A couple of years ago we bought the building next door because it would allow us to expand,” Hawker said of the building in which Back Stage Decor is located. After purchasing the other building the audacious trio went to work again renovating and remodeling. The Harmony Cafe rented the building for a time. After it closed, the owners decided it was time to expand and went to work to create The Back Stage Decor.

The business features an unexpected cafe along with antique items denoting a farm house look for the Millennial generation. The owners are still searching for a name for their cafe.

“They were batting around names for the cafe just now. They came up with some unique names but didn’t settle on one,” Hawker said, adding that the menu is kept simple.

“We plan to have just two different kind of sandwiches, fruit and a homemade dessert.”

The menu, though simple will change daily, and will serve hand-dipped ice cream. The cafe area can seat approximately 30 people.

While eating or visiting, customers have a view of numerous antiques artfully displayed around the room. More antiques are now located upstairs over the cafe.

In addition to antiques and the cafe, the enterprising business owners sell home grown food and locally made items. These include a line of Stone River products, which are made from goats milk. They have fresh free range eggs and honey from local vendors. They also have O’De’s Candles, an all-natural soy wax candle. Whatever your ailment or need, whether its bugs, sunburn or a relaxing bath salts, Miss Debbie Herbs could be the answer.