Last April, Beth Martin opened the Barefoot Cottage above Busy Beedz, a successful jewelry boutique with a passionate following. Her shop showcased her down-to-earth, yet chic, home décor: custom-built wooden hutches and benches, “feathered” bowls, wicker chairs, glass candy jars, and bird chandeliers. “I would definitely say the store offers all things casual,” Martin says. “I’m just not into the formal, fussy, furniture.” Four months later, she realized her business had its own following — a big following with so many customers that Martin realized she had outgrown the space. Plus, her second-floor shop made transporting inventory and merchandise cumbersome.
Martin asked customers for feedback on new locations. “I couldn’t believe how many people suggested that little area down there across from the university,” says the former nurse. “That little area” near the University of Evansville offered an array of locally owned shops: The Slice, a pizzeria; Basket Kases, a gift specialty store; and Jeanne’s Gelato & More, an Italian ice cream shop. Still, Martin wasn’t convinced. She visited the vacant space at 2005 Lincoln Ave., a former vintage clothing store, four times before commiting to the overwhelming amount of labor and time that was needed to rehab the space. From January until April, the Martin family painted around 300 ceiling tiles; repaired and painted cracked walls; replaced old spotlights with energy efficient lighting; added ceiling installation; built a checkout counter; sanded, repaired, and painted the floor; and added crown molding and baseboards.
On April 16, the one-year anniversary of the Barefoot Cottage, Martin celebrated the grand opening at the new location. The stand-alone shop feels as easy and breezy as the original but with three times the space, she says. Inside are pieces showcasing Martin’s penchant for earth tones and nature-inspired adornments.
With more space, Martin added a new furniture line called Best Slipcover Company (BSC). The California-based company offers pieces for “total casual living,” Martin says. Even so, BSC is serious business: The frames, for example, are all hardwood; no particleboard allowed. Plus, these are handmade from a family-owned company. The brand fits with the comfortable, mom-and-pop feel of Martin’s Barefoot Cottage.
The Barefoot Cottage
2005 Lincoln Ave. Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday: home consultations and appointments only. 812-401-3383.