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Talking Shop with Laurie Everett, owner of Annie Laurie's Antiques, 536 Broadway in Cape Girardeau
Laurie Everett has worked in just about every job imaginable and traveled around the world, yet the Cape Girardeau native longed to return to her roots. An avid antique collector, Everett combined her hobby with business when she purchased Annie Laurie's Antiques. Business reporter Brian Blackwell recently learned a little more about interest in the world of antiques.
Q: What other jobs have you held prior to this one?
A: You name it and I have done it. Snow cones, tanning salons, hostess, juvenile detention worker, internship at local police department, soldier, nonprofit organizer, veterinary assistant, office manager, university instructor [and] business owner, just to name a few.
Q: Did you ever think you'd be in your current role?
A: I am the kind of person that is willing to take a risk, so I guess yes -- I just didn't know that it would be antiques.
Q: Tell me how your business started and anything that was instrumental in your life that prepared you for this.
A: Annie Laurie's existed before I came along. It was previously owned by Mary Robertson. Four years ago I purchased the building and the business. Annie Laurie's was formerly a funeral home, so it already had an apartment upstairs and we gutted it and made it our new home. The name stayed the same, because my name is Laurie Anne, so it was meant to be.
Q: What is the most rewarding and most difficult part of the job?
A: The most rewarding part of my job is that I don't dread going to work and I don't have far to go, maybe 20 steps. I am the kind of person that loves change, so when you own your own business you can do whatever you want and no one holds you back. The most difficult parts are brown recluse spiders, getting stuck in dumpsters and weirdos that come in the shop. Strange things happen around the shop on a daily basis. I once found a pair of men's underwear in one of the couches that was not there before I moved it in, vintage Playboy magazines found in the bathroom, everyone feeling they need to poop at my shop and the list goes on.
Q: What is the most interesting piece you've sold?
A: Wow, there are too many to name. All the pieces that I buy and sell are interesting to me, but I guess I could say several Frank Lloyd Wright prism tile windows, a very old stand-up camera and I really loved these old medical chart screens.
Q: How has the economy affected your business?
A: The numbers continue to increase every year. Antiques are becoming more trendy than they were in the past. You now see college students and children [as customers] whereas before it might not have been their favorite place to spend an afternoon. I think also people are realizing the craftsmanship is not what it used to be. You can go buy a shelf that is made of particle board or you can buy a heavy piece of furniture made from real wood. Also, many of today's styles are mimicking styles of the past, for example, retro and vintage items. That doesn't hurt either.
Q: Tell me about your latest renovation.
A: If you have been in my shop before, you will realize that I am a firm believer in utilizing every inch of space -- bathrooms, closets, ceilings and more. I have a basement, so I decided to use it. The basement, now known as Allie Cat, will be unveiled Friday. We are always open late on the first Friday of the month until 10 p.m. Allie Cat has been set up to resemble someone's apartment, except everything is for sale. Most people are visual, so I wanted to have a place that I could stage furnishings and decor from all different eras and show how well they can all mix together. It's funky and fun with a touch of whimsy.
Q: What does the future hold for your business?
A: I love antiques, but my real passion is design. I would love to have a full-service design aspect that would include decorating, staging, store designs and setups. I would also love to write and publish decorating books, to give people ideas on how to mix the old and the new and have a real electric feel. The sky is the limit and I am ready for anything.