Where the Heart Is

Nearly 30 years ago, Newburgh, Ind., resident and artist Becky Geis opened a studio in her basement. She taught would-be creators the art of decorative painting. Four years later, in 1986, she relocated the studio to a house at 121 Plum St., and Heart of Newburgh was born. A budding entrepreneur, Geis purchased items such as candles, pottery, and local artist-made decorative pieces to sell at her classes. Soon, she dedicated the front two rooms to retail. The classes have long since been removed from the operation, and though she misses the creative outlet, Geis loves the retail business.

Not that the shop encompassing two houses doesn’t have a touch of her artistic flair — the original wood floors have been stencil-painted to add a cozy country feel — but Geis has become a full-time marketer. The purveyor of “vintage feel” products carries a wide range of home décor, gifts, and unique collectibles. Geis says her shoppers are “collecting a look” rather than a recognized “collectible” name.

From jewelry to Sorrento stoneware to holiday decorations (all major holidays, all year), Geis carries goods for those who appreciate traditional, hand-crafted styles. But there’s more. “People tell me they didn’t even know we sold curtains, rugs, lamps and furniture,” Geis says.

What regular customers know about are the five different brands of scented candles, including Crossroads, manufactured in Ohio; Candleberry, from Kentucky; and the soy-based 1803 brand from Illinois. As the OPI of candles with fun monikers, 1803’s scents bear names like “The Weathered Crow” (which smells like hot buttered popcorn) and “Simply Autumn” (a heavy-on-the-spiced-pumpkin scent just right for fall).

For Vera Bradley fans, Geis has a room dedicated to all things colorfully quilted — a haven of duffels, purses (in new modern styles), wristlets, and office paraphernalia. Also available are the lesser known but classic chic microfiber travel and computer bags.

For more information, visit www.heartofnewburgh.com.

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