It has been a year since Garnet King took a risk, took the plunge, and fulfilled a lifelong dream by opening her own store. It is called Garnet’s On the Square, and Garnet King has realized her goal by making it into a true “gem of a store.” She is quick to give glory to God and thanks to family and friends for the past year. When I asked her what the best part of her first year as a store owner has been, she said, “I’ve made a lot of new friends, and I love seeing people come through the doors. I am a people person, and I was hoping it would be like this.”
I then asked her what one of the highlights of her first year in business had been, and her face lit up as she told me, “We had a custom made tin and barn wood island bar, and a couple from Madison were in the store browsing. They took one look at it, said, ‘We’ve GOT to have it,’ bought it on the spot, and took it home that day. The MAN was the one that was excited! Usually it’s the woman, but this guy was almost like a little kid. He was so fun to watch,” she told me.
There is no doubt that Garnet, her friends, family, and vendors have worked hard to “polish the gem” that is Garnet’s On the Square, and there is a wonderful variety of items from which to choose in each booth. “We are eclectic,” she said, and we are trendy.” There are antiques, re-purposed as well as hand built furniture and home décor items, handmade soaps and lotions, high end consignment furniture, custom blended gourmet food, and wedding reception items for rent or sale.
“There are lots of barn wood tables, chairs, islands and cabinets,” said Garnet, “and most of the barn wood is around 100 years old.” They get the majority of their barn wood from Tennessee. One of Garnet’s favorite “stores within the store” is what they call the Man Cave. “The coolest things are the old tools, fans, heaters and farming implements,” she said.
She went on to tell me that she especially loves to go to estate sales, and wonders just what the people were like, and how they lived their lives. Recently a family whose mother had passed sold Garnet and her husband Mike “nearly the whole house.” There were some flour sack embroidered towels that were from the era when you did not just throw things away, but you “made do” in a beautiful way. She is not going to sell the towels because “they are a part of this woman’s story,” Garnet told me, and added, “she was 91 when she passed.”
Garnet then introduced me to Kim Battles, the owner of the Spicy Peacock. Kim describes herself as a “foodie,” that is, someone who really loves to cook and try new and unusual flavors. Kim wants to “try to bring a better dining experience at home.” To that end, she and her husband searched far and wide for people to produce what the Battles were looking to sell, things such as ground vanilla, lots of meat rubs, a dark chocolate spread, a pineapple and habanera chutney, balsamic vinaigrettes, and olive oils. The Spicy Peacock is going to have its grand opening at Garnet’s on Saturday, April 4th, from 11-2. There will be tastings as well as refreshments served.
Another new addition to Garnet’s On the Square is a wedding booth called “Jinny’s.” It is unique in that you can either rent or buy the items, both at reasonable prices. There are arches made of iron, wood, or are rustic, fountains, punch bowls, and lighted columns, which are perfect for outdoor weddings at night. Garnet told me the columns are the only ones of their kind in all of Alabama. “Jinny’s has everything you need to decorate for your indoor or outdoor wedding.” In addition, their items are “rustic clear up to high end classy,” and they have a good selection of silk flower arrangements and wreaths.
“Last Word Vinyl Creations” is another “store within the store, and offers personalized items. There are wall words, notebooks, sweet tea glasses, plaques, and sports shirts of all kinds.
Lastly, Garnet’s carries Bungalow No-Prep, and General Finishes brand milk paint and stains, for those who want to re-purpose their own “finds” themselves. The General Finishes products have been around since 1928. “These are big sellers,” she happily told me.
I wanted Garnet to know that I was proud of her, and glad that the store was thriving, even through the hard stuff that invariably accompanies owning your own business. I shared with her a statement that had been made to me by the dear women at the Sweetest Things one day when I was really “feeling the pressure,” and that was, “No cross, no crown.” Garnet said, “Oh, that’s so good, and you need to put that at the end of the article” So, I am doing just that, and conveying Garnet’s heartfelt thanks to all her customers for a wonderful first year. Come to Garnet’s On The Square, see for yourself what a “gem of a store” it truly is, and congratulate Garnet, her family and the vendors on a job that continues to be well done.
Garnet’s On The Square-A Gem Of A Store
116 N. Jefferson Athens, AL 35611
Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am to 5pm
Facebook: Garnet’s On The Square
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner