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By B. Scott Mohr
If you are looking for a quaint little antique shop that’s reminiscent of those in Nashville, Ind., but don’t want to make the 70-minute drive down State Road 135, then head to the Rustic Root in Beech Grove.
Opened Sept. 16 at 222 Main St., by Tammy and Tony Hanna, the business features antiques – some of them repurposed – and a gift shop.
“I have always loved antiques and the character of antiques,” said Tammy Hanna, who explained how the business came about. “We purchased the building as a rental property, but when a tattoo parlor couldn’t get the required zoning we looked to lease it but had no luck. We were considering selling until Tony mentioned an antique shop.
“At first I said, ‘You have got to be crazy.’ ” That response stemmed from the fact that the couple were already plenty busy as owners of Hanna’s Wrecker Service, 3501 W. Kelly St., which employs 40 people. “But he was persistent and pushed me. He said this was something we needed to try.
Tammy was familiar with the area because she had worked with a surgeons group out of the old St. Francis Hospital.
“Main Street is an up-and-coming location, and we want to be part of the growth,” she said.
From the time Tony tossed out the idea to opening day – during which the store was swamped by 52 customers – only a month had elapsed.
“We shopped for a good several weeks,” said Tammy, who is assisted in the endeavor by Rob, an employee of the family for about 10 years. “He is clever and has a lot of great of ideas.”
When shopping, Tammy never knows what she will find. “You always have to have an eye out. You never know what you are going to find. If I see something I like, I buy it because I know we will use it someday.”
As for what qualifies as an antique, that’s a judgement call, according to Hanna. “Obviously, it something older that’s been around for a long time.”
Hanna loves to repurpose antiques, as evidenced by a lamp that she made out of two old gas cans. The checkout counter has been concocted out of the bed and tailgate of a 1954 Chevrolet pickup truck.
Everyone who has visited the shop has enjoyed their experience, she said. Customers have praised the shop for its ambience and the quality of merchandise. “I love it when customers see something that takes them back to their younger years. People like that feeling, and I like it when we are able to give them that feeling.”
In addition to the antiques, there are greeting cards, candles, handmade jewelry, locally made organic soaps and body butter.
More than several clients have told her that Beech Grove needs a shop like this. “Our success will depend on word-of-mouth,” she said. “I’m doing whatever I can to get people to notice. Once they are here, I know they are going to remember us. I am not worried about that.
Hanna divides her workweek fairly evenly between the businesses. The antique shop is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, noon-7 Wednesday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Tony stops by a couple of times a week to see what’s going on and what has changed. “He has some good ideas,” she said.
In addition to running the two businesses, Tammy serves on the board of directors for the Pink Ribbon Connection, a support group for survivors of breast cancer. She and her husband helped launched a weekly auction of donated cars to benefit the agency. People with unwanted cars call 255-7465 and Tony will tow them away.
Both of her parents and her husband’s mother died of cancer in their early 50s.
The Hannas, married in 2000, had lived in Greenwood for 13 years before moving to Needham – between Greenwood and Shelbyville – two years ago.
Besides peddling antiques, Tammy offers a variety of classes at the shop, including cake and cookie decorating, jewelry and gift card making, stained glass and knitting. Call 591-9497 for more information.
Tammy said she enjoys her work with the Pink Ribbon Connection. “When you are fortunate, you have to give back.”