Downtown Hutchinson’s newest addition combines family and “upcycling” for a unique experience on Main Street.
If you aren’t familiar with the term upcycling, it’s a home decor trend of giving new life to old and unwanted materials. Lisa Gambrell, owner of Sanford & Co., the new store opening Wednesday at 37 Main St. N., formerly Dana's Dog Spa, says she’s been upcycling for about four years now.
“I have furniture all over the metro in several different stores,” said Gambrell, who lives near the Twin Cities. “Someone else owns the stores, I drop off the furniture, it gets sold and then I drop off more.”
Although she’s only been renovating furniture for a few years, the roots of her passion are embedded in her lineage.
“If I think back to my family history, my grandparents lived through the Depression, so they never wasted anything,” Gambrell said. “When I was a kid I thought that was odd, and now it’s just what we do. You don’t want to waste things, you can reuse things.”
“I didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘This is what I’m going to do,’” she said. “It’s just a tradition in my family in some ways.”
Raising Gambrell to believe in upcycling wasn’t the end of her family’s influence in her new venture. It turns out the entire business is a family affair.
Gambrell’s sisters, Theresa Berg and Sylvia Meucke, have called Hutchinson home for many years, and her parents, Ed and Ann Stockert, moved to town about a year ago after retiring. It was during a family visit that Gambrell first spotted her new space in downtown Hutchinson.
Now she’s recruiting all of them as they prepare for the store’s opening.
“My sister Sylvia has an eye for merchandising … She comes in and helps move things around to make it look (nice),” Gambrell said. “My sister Theresa is really crafty and makes things, always has been. Everyone just (helps out) wherever their talents might be.”
Her father is what the family calls a “tinkerer” and enjoys fixing up old radios, clocks and other decor. He’ll also be working behind the counter along with Gambrell’s daughters, Alexius and Samantha. Her brother, Brad, who also lives in the Twin Cities area, helps build some of the pieces on display. Lastly, her partner, Jim Sanford, for whom the store is named, helps find many of the refurbished pieces at garage sales, Goodwill and on roadsides.
“He’s the one that goes and finds most of the stuff,” Gambrell said. “He hauls it, he sometimes fixes it and repairs it, sands it down and gets it ready. He’s a big part. I couldn’t do it without him.”
Because everything in her store is handmade, if you see something you like it’s best not to wait too long. Once something is gone, it’s gone for good.
“It’s very hard for me to reproduce something,” Gambrell said. “It’s a sense of art.”
Starting out, Gambrell said the store will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment.
It’s been a busy time for Gambrell as she prepares for her opening this week, so she hasn’t had opportunities to go around and meet other business owners in the community. She’s looking forward to that time, however, and says community is what brought her to Hutchinson.
“I’m really excited, because I like the small community and there are a lot of cool stores,” Gambrell said. “That’s one of the things that attracted me. There’s a lot of interesting little boutiques and shops that are privately owned. You can support one another in the community and do things together as a group to bring in customers.”