Lots of people go antiquing or to flea markets and pick up old pieces of iron or wood with big plans to do something decorative with them one day.
So does Wichitan Robyn Wells. The difference is, she actually follows through and does it.
Now, Wells is opening a new shop in part of the former Suede space in Old Town to sell those finds that she’s had fabricated into new pieces. It’s sometimes hard for her to explain her concept, though.
“People ask me what the store is, and I’m perplexed,” Wells says. “I need to come up with an immediate response to explain.”
The name of the store is a good one-word description: Uniquities.
“It describes what I’m going to do perfectly,” Wells says of the unique antiques she’ll have.
She says when she returns to Wichita with flea market finds from places such as Dallas, people often ask: “Why’d you buy that?”
Wells says she’ll respond: “I’m going to turn it into something, but I don’t know what yet.”
She says she especially likes things from overseas.
“European things appeal to me.”
Wells might turn a grate into a coffee table or the wooden part of an old elevator door into a headboard.
“Things that I like the bones of, I’ll just recreate something else.”
Not everyone immediately sees her vision, though. Her husband, Dave Wells of Key Construction, was skeptical when Wells brought iron panels into their Old Town loft.
“Dave was grumbling at me saying, ‘What are you going to do with them?’”
Wells had them screwed together to separate her entry area from her dining room.
Wells admits her Key Construction connection is a help since she has access to craftspeople that the average person does not.
“When they have a slow time, they can work on my little projects,” she says. “So I give them these kindergarten sketches of things.”
Uniquities will be at 141 N. Rock Island in just over half of the former Suede space.
“It’s not a huge space,” Wells says. “Just big enough.”
The store won’t be open every day or even every week. Wells says she’s thinking she’ll probably open the shop a couple of weekends a month.
“When I’m open, I want people to have this anticipation,” she says. “You gotta get there early.”
Wells says she’ll have a variety of items at different prices.
“Most things are very affordable,” she says. “I wanted to keep everything super, super reasonable.”
Though she’ll have some more expensive items, too, Wells says she’ll have some smaller gift items for people to pop in and pick up.
“The things I have are definitely uniquities,” she says. “I have my favorite little flea market type places. … I just have a ball doing it.”
Wells is hoping to open in late May or early June around the time of Riverfest.
For now, she’s preparing the shop by unwrapping all her finds.
“It’s like Christmas down there.”