Mixing antiques, salvaged, handmade and new
Welcome to Heirloom a blog for people who enjoy interesting interior spaces mixed with antiques, salvaged, handmade and new written by a Salvage Sister! I am Heather Fisher, the owner and operator of Salvage Sisters Mercantile, a gift shop located in my home town of Mankato, MN. I am celebrating my 6th year in the antique, handmade and salvage business and I am excited to share my story with you!
I am 4th generation Mankato resident and small business owner. My great-grandparents owned Dalton Motors which was a Chrysler dealership and was passed down to my grand parents who had seven daughters and one son. My mom and her many sisters were antiquers, salvagers and junkers, it was a way of life. My Aunt Cindy Florine owned two antique stores: "Wild Goose Chase" and "Viking Antiques" where I spent Saturdays as a kid with my mom working the shop. I would play in all of the vignettes creating stories in my head about the history of the items. Early on, I learned an appreciation for heirloom quality furniture by watching my mom sell the features of the pieces. Dovetail, mortise and tenon, double booked and spoon carving were words in my vocabulary at age 9.
I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Interior Design with a Minor in Studio Art from Minnesota State University in Mankato. Soon after graduation, I had my first child, Hazel, and helped my then husband build Office Space Design. Bringing a toddler to the office was proving to be a difficult task so I began working from home doing marketing for two hotels located in Belize, Central America where I would also lead groups on volunteer tourism trips in the rain forest which is a story for another time. After having my second child, Samson, I was introduced to Salvage Sisters.
Salvage Sisters was founded by three friends in July 2012 it was a painted furniture shop that was housed in a cute little storefront on Riverfront Drive in Mankato. Six months after being in business, the women decided that the small business life wasn't for them and they were going to announce their closing. I received a call from a woman at the SBDC informing me that one of the women wanted to continue the shop and was looking for a business partner when my name came up. I discussed it with my family and my then husband but he already had a "hobby business" that we were just beginning so he didn't think it would be a good idea for our family if I were to start another one so I called the women and told them that I would have to pass. As they began to announce their store closing, I just couldn't stand by and watch such a great concept go under especially since owning a boutique was one of my life goals! I crunched numbers and did projections and decided that I needed this project, for myself. We were business partners for a year and a half until she decided she no longer wanted to own the business so I bought her half and have owned the store on my own since 2014.
Over the years, Salvage Sisters has changed from being solely salvaged, painted furniture to a gift shop. I first brought local makers into the shop in 2014 offering items that were more than just home decor because you can only buy a dining room table so many times, right?! I wanted people to keep coming into the store even if they didn't need a piece of furniture. Today my shop is filled with locally made items from baby clothes to wall art, unique antique finds, salvaged furniture and quirky gone-of-a-kind gifts.
While some people think that something looks dated if it doesn't have characteristics of the latest trends, I love creating interesting designs by mixing the old with the new! I am here to ensure that grandmas' heirloom pieces don't end up in the dump by showing my customers how to make their homes unique and interesting by incorporating items they have with items they love. We all need to remember that trends come and go and whatever is popular now will someday be dated. Think 1970's wood paneling... everywhere...