Come Out and Play
Burlington’s Hearth & Home Consignments is DIY Central
By Annie Ferguson
Sandy Brimís store has a way of wowing its customers. Literally. Brim gets a kick out of seeing customers walk in, mouths agape. Handmade stone and silver jewelry, an antique parlor table, vintage dresses, local pottery and photography, playbills from the 1800s and even an iron grill that once adorned a window in 19th-century New York City. The treasures are almost endless in Hearth & Home Consignments in Burlington. The store’s centerpiece is a huge fireplace with a distinctive wood mantel, fashioned from a hand-hewn beam salvaged from Burlington’s former Baker and Cammack Hosiery Mill.
One customer offered $1,500 for the mantel, but Brim had to tell him it wasn’t for sale. After all, where would a store called Hearth & Home be without a hearth with some history?
Yet consigning with various vendors isn’t Brim’s only game — far from it, actually. Thanks in part to two gifted parents — her father a carpenter, her mother a talented seamstress — she picked up most of the skills she needed to transform a building that housed a rundown bar into a store that not only sells crafts and antiques but also educates customers through DIY classes in areas such as mosaic tiling, reupholstery, lamp rewiring and chair recaning. “My love of wood came from my father, but my passion for reclaiming furnishings comes from my mother,” Brim explains.
A Nebraska native, she worked as a registered respiratory therapist for thirty years after studying at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and St. John’s Regional Medical Center/Southwest Missouri State. In 1984, a job at Duke University Medical Center brought Brim to North Carolina. She later moved to Greensboro and worked at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital and later at Greensboro’s Women’s Hospital. In 2010 she began working at a consignment store with a friend, and in September 2015, events in her personal life led her to seriously consider opening her own store.
She drove past the building that is now Hearth & Home: Consignments, Refinements and DIY Classes seven times before she made a call to inquire about leasing the space. When she first toured the space with the building manager, the “Halloween decorations” were still up. Brim wiped away cobweb after cobweb but knew this was the space for her new business. Though her success had a lot to do with the skills she learned from her parents, the support from her husband, Billy, and heaps of hard work took her the rest of the way and beyond. Brim leased the space in September of 2015 and opened at seemingly lightning speed after she, Billy, and a couple friends worked 10- to 16-hour days until its grand opening on November 1, 2015. The space is now clean, beautiful, and, the once-pothole-ridden lot is freshly paved.
Brim and her team that includes associates Dana (pronounced Donna) Thramann and Joy Lugo, work with customers on refurbishing items whether they’re bought in-store or not. One customer just wanted a place to work on a new project — something she’s never tried before. “If she comes, there’s likely someone here who can help her,” Brim says. “We have many customers who like to just come in and spend some time.”
The store certainly has a way of giving new meaning to the term retail therapy. “One of our customers has early-onset Alzheimer’s. She comes in and touches many of our treasures, and her husband sips tea or coffee while she does,” Brim says, her welcoming spirit becoming evident the more she talks about her customers. In fact, after Thramann visited the store several times asking about the vintage sheet music she brought in Brim ended up hiring her, saying, “Want to come play with us?” OH
If You Plan to Go: Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. Every weekend Hearth & Home Consignments hosts a yard sale, and classes are held Sunday afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m. This fall, look for holiday decorating classes with artificial florals for making wreaths and arrangements, as well as a session on a unique technique that that allows you to repurpose and embellish vintage linens. Info: 7300 Burlington Road, Burlington. (336) 447-4800 or www.hearthhomenc.com.
Annie Ferguson is a frequent contributor to O.Henry