Owner and operator Mary Ellen Shia has owned the Wrentham Country Store for six years now, but she said she’s always been a collector.
“I grew up with it,” she said. “My mother always collected. After we moved here we started going to yards. When I was 10, she used to take me out to yard sales, estate sales and flea markets. I’ve always had older things around me. It was in my blood”
Shia said she was renting a space for two years from the store’s previous owner, when he moved to California. Six years ago, she took over the store.
“I knew that the store could be bigger and better than it was at the time. I was really driven,” she said.
Shia said she wanted to do something a bit different as well. She said that many antique stores sell high quality, but also high priced pieces. At the Country Store, she said she wanted to do something a little more accessible.
“We try to keep our prices lower here if you have 10 dollars you can buy something here,” she said.
Before staying in one place, she said that she lived in Brimfield and went to flea markets. The Brimfield Antique Show, she said, was a huge market-style event.
“Acres and acres,” she said. “It was crazy, but I decided at that point that I didn’t want to be lugging my stuff for a one day show. I saw a space for rent outside [The Country Store] nine years ago. They rented me a little space and that’s how it started.”
Shia said that her favorite style is called Shabby Chic, a French Farmhouse look composed mostly of white pieces. She said she has 20 other vendors in the store who come in with all shapes, sizes and styles of pieces as well.
“There’s a couple that lives on South Street who have a huge collection of vintage toys they’re always bringing in,” she said. “We have someone who has a lot of estate jewelry. Some people are constantly painting. They have all one of kind pieces they bring in. Most of the paintings here are one of a kind.”
Tthe store has been getting a good deal of press as well. She said that the store has been mentioned in the National Flea Market Magazine as a must see stop in Massachusetts.
“In three or four issues they list the best places in the country to buy vintage goods,” she said. “There are no other places around here listed.”
Shia added that in many vintage stores there are many reproduction pieces for sale and she also she tries to keep a full stock of authentic pieces.