Back in the Day: Gifts, decor and much more
Anna J. Fortenberry
In this day and age of economic downturn and concerns, it’s often nice to “go back in the day.”
And so Carrie Wadlinger and Sherry Kinder, owners of Back in the Day Primitive Gifts & Decor, are ready to help us all go back to the day when life was much more laid back and relaxed…to simpler times. Step into their shop on Highway 16 and you get that soothing feeling of old country charm.
But don’t let the name fool you. It’s not just “country primitive.” Just about any style of décor can take a dose of some of their charming items. And you never really know what you’ll find there as the inventory continuously changes. They move items in and out for the season or new finds that catch their attention.
From the wonderful smell of gently burning candles to the variety of signs that make you chuckle (At my age, flowers scare me!), the gift shop is full of all kinds of things.
And now, just before their second anniversary, they have doubled the store size from 2,000 square feet to around 4,000 square feet.
“It’s called the Barn area,” said Carrie. They used rough-cut lumber to give it a real barn feel.”
Items in the new area include a boutique, furniture and outdoor décor. The new area will also transform to become their Christmas area when that season gets near. Beyond that, however, it gives them additional space to bring in more items.
“We look for unique and different things,” said Sherry. “We try to stay on top of some of the new items.”
And Carrie added that they pretty much go by their tastes in what they buy to stock the shelves.
“We figure if we like it, others will like it, too,” she said.
Now they can store items they used to have to keep off-site until they were ready for the retail store. And Carrie’s “hole” as she describes her office, is in the back of the new addition. Sherry says she now can do all her merchandise ordering there rather than doing that job from home.
The new addition is now open and they will probably hold a grand opening to go along with their second anniversary in September.
Carrie said opening a gift shop was on her “bucket list” when they opened Back in the Day almost two years ago.
“Our idea was to open a small shop,” she said. “We should have known better. We never do anything in a small way.”
Walking in, you get that feeling you have gone “back in the day.” Both say they hear stories from customers all the time relating something they see in the store that reminds them of their grandparents’ home or of days gone by.
“The community has really embraced us,” Sherry said. “It’s proof that when the economy is down, small local places can survive.”
To that, Carrie added that local people have got to support each other.
“Shopping locally helps us all keep the doors open,” Carrie said. “It’s extremely important to come by even to buy something small.”
“It comes down to that’s how our doors will stay open,” added Sherry.
Many who stop by to check out Back in the Day return often bringing family or out of town visitors.
“It’s become a destination here,” Carrie added. “It’s that back in the day feeling.”
But it goes beyond the shopping. Sherry is the designer. You can take her a photo of an area you want to spruce up or re-do and she’ll offer suggestions. They redo furniture from restoring to renovating, do custom arrangements and wreaths or customize things like signs for you. Want help decorating your Christmas tree or your home for the holidays? Just give them a call. They also have a line of Lake Norman items and a sign that is specific for the area, “God’s Country…Denver, NC.”
“We think the whole area is God’s Country. We want to promote right here,” said Carrie.
The two often do programs for groups. They showcase their ideas and their store.
“We have pictures to share giving ideas to bring the outdoors in and take the inside out,” Sherry said.
Back in the Day was also part of the recent Lincoln County Extreme Home Makeover that will air in December. They decorated the Christmas tree for the house.
Sherry and Carrie are very much into using “local” whenever possible.
“If we can’t find it in Denver, we’ll look in Lincoln County or in this state before we buy elsewhere,” Carrie said.
Sherry said they buy “Made in the USA” when they can.
“Our taste is primitive…well rustic. But you’ll find cabin, French country, country, or primitive look. We mix a nice piece of pottery or something to give an updated look…so primitive is not really what we are.”
To Carrie and Sherry, Denver and their Back in the Day shop is more than a retail store. Walk through the doors and you’ll feel like a long, lost friend. And wandering through the shop is like an adventure to see what you can discover there.
“Opportunities come along to do nice things,” said Carrie. “You go home smiling when you’ve made someone happy.”
From September through November, they will have Shoppe Keepers Saturday on the third Saturday of each month. For this special day, they bring in other vendors to set up inside or out in their outside area. This brings in new items and helps other local people.
“It’s extremely important to help each other,” Carrie said.
The first two weeks during Rock Springs Camp Meeting they have their annual Porch Sale. Last year, someone from Camp Meeting bought a sign that said “Welcome to the porch” and others came in wanting to buy the same thing.
In September, they will hold their anniversary celebration. And don’t forget Christmas when they invite Santa, have a band and fire up the fire pit as well as have goodies to share. They offer a monthly drawing for shoppers who make a purchase to enter for a gift. And from time to time, they have just a really good deal on an item they call it their “Customers special.”
So stop by. Sit a spell. Just take in the sights and smells of the shop.
And shop local.
Back in the Day
Primitive Gifts & Décor
1612 N. Hwy. 16
Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.