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Picking Treasures at Second Stories

Mother-daughter duo turn vacant McCordsville building into antique shop.

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer / Jamie Sangar

Last May, mother-daughter duo Angie Cornelius and Aimee Ector were out doing what they love, antique shopping, when they stumbled upon a beautiful old vacant building for sale in McCordsville. Built in 1900, the 2-story, 8,400-square-foot former warehouse seemed an ideal location for the vintage aficionados to open up an antique mall. The pair who, for the past eight years, have sold their merchandise at booths, festivals and flea markets, had always dreamed of running their own place.

“We are pickers at heart and can’t drive past a garage sale, estate sale, or Goodwill without jumping out of the car and searching for treasures,” Cornelius says. “But we had accumulated so much that we had to either open a store or move into bigger homes.”

The women purchased the property in mid-May and immediately got to work on refurbishing it. Though the building is rich with history (the basement has a full bar, begging the question, “Was this once a speakeasy?”), a 100-year-old structure meant a great deal of work.

“It needed a lot of attention,” Cornelius says. “The basement flooded. We had mold. The steps were crooked. Sometimes I was like, ‘What the heck is that? Oh, that’s how they used to do the wiring.’ That’s the challenge — making it a safe, beautiful environment.”

Thankfully, Cornelius’ son is a carpenter, so he helped a great deal. The women also gave the building a full face lift by putting a fresh coat of pale aqua blue paint indoors as well as a punch of vivid color on the exterior.

“We’re both beach girls, so we took a risk and painted the front porch coral, aqua and lime green,” Ector says. “It’s eye-catching, for sure. People driving by point and stare, so we think they are either shocked and horrified or intrigued and excited. But seriously, we’ve gotten a lot of compliments on what we’ve done.”

Business-wise, they are already off and running, having booked up every inch of first-floor vendor space within four days. The upstairs holds an additional 35-40 vendors.

The mall will sell everything from jewelry to furniture to Mid-century modern to true antiques and collectibles. They also have a number of local artists, including Lisa Rader (organic ceramics), Chad Leathers (wood furniture), Carol Thompson (photography), and Terry Cole-Rodgers (jewelry).

“We have items that are 200 to 300 years old as well as furniture and decorations from the 30s, 40s and 50s,” Ector says. “We have garden items on the front porch, tons of hand-made jewelry, two full boutiques of clothing. It’s going to be lovely shopping.”

The women selected the name Second Stories for their store because they feel that all of these refurbished pieces are given a second story, a second chance, a second life. Plus, every piece has a story behind it. For example, they’ll buy a dresser and open it up to find little dots of nail polish or glitter inside with a name carved in it.

This mother-daughter team has their own stories as well. For instance, a couple of years ago, they rented a truck and participated in the Route 127 Corridor Sale that starts in Michigan and extends down to Alabama.

“We came back with so much stuff hanging off the truck that we looked like the Clampetts, but we had so much fun out there picking,” says Cornelius, noting that once you get antique shopping in your blood, you have the fever for life.

“We experienced some labor pains as we worked to get this place up and running,” Ector says. “But now we have something really cute that’s going to grow and blossom.”

Second Stories, located at 6288 West Broadway, is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/secondstoriesshop/.

About Christy Heitger-Ewing

Christy Heitger-Ewing is an award-winning writer and columnist who writes human interest stories for national, regional, and local magazines. She is also the author of the book “Cabin Glory: Amusing Tales of Time Spent at the Family Retreat” (www.cabinglory.com).

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