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Fine arts and crafts shop to open

Richard D. L. Fulton

(2/19) A restored barn, located off Main Street in Fairfield Borough, will serve as home to a new fine arts and crafts shop.

Work on the "up-cycled" Victorian barn, located behind 204 East Main, commenced around five years ago under the ownership of Sally Thomas and Heather Jenkins.

Thomas is the wife of Dean Thomas, owner and operator of Thomas Publications and member of the Fairfield Borough Historical Architectural Review Board.

Thomas and Jenkins had purchased the property containing an 1870 home and barn, and proceeded to restore the barn for a pottery shop. Thomas had previously established a Polish pottery import business about ten years ago, she said.

"The barn was dilapidated," Thomas reported, complete with dust dirt and debris "including animal skeletons. "We decided the barn was worth saving."

The barn was so neglected that "the interior had to be power-washed," she said.

Thomas and Jenkins "spent a full year" breathing new life into the ruined structure by engaging independent construction contractor John Gaston. "John did a great job," Thomas stated.

The two-story barn offers some 2,000 square feet of floor space to accommodate the shop, multi-purpose room and offices.

The end product was a two-story, refurbished barn that preserved some of the structural beams, while the rest of the building was reinforced to support a second-story multi-purpose room and office. The first floor contains the main sales area and gallery.

The pottery sales operation, McKesson House, was subsequently relocated to the site of Thomas Publications when Thomas and Jenkins decided to rent out the barn, which became occupied by the Back the Alley lawn and garden business.

When the owners of Back the Alley lawn and garden business decided to move to another location in-town, Thomas’ son, Thomas Rodgers, expressed an interest in establishing an arts and crafts business in the barn, to be named Village Arts, with Rodgers as the business owner.

Thomas and Jenkins are helping to select arts and crafts to be offered at Village Arts. Thus far, the works of some 11 artists and crafters have been accepted.

"We’re always looking for more artists. We’re trying to provide a venue for local artists," Thomas said. "It’s important for Fairfield to have more enterprises. It’s a great place to stay and shop."

For additional information regarding Village Arts, call Thomas at 642-8012 or Jenkins at 642-5317.

Inquiries may also be emailed to mckessonhouse@comcast.net.

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