Antiques store rises above its humble beginnings

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

SOUTH POINT - A former tool shed may seem an unlikely location for an antiques shop, but for Penny Blankenship the structure's appeal lay in its potential.

Blankenship, 54, owner of Foggy Bottom Antiques, Collectibles, & … Other Needful Things, said she had longed to open her own store. After all, her mother had operated one while Blankenship was growing up in Tennessee. So, it only seemed natural for the daughter to continue the tradition.

"It's been something I've dreamed about doing for years," Penny Blankenship said.

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"I decided it was time to just jump in with both feet and give it a try. If not now, then probably never."

But the building behind the Blankenship home needed a little help. That is where husband Kenny's connection with the business began and ended. After his initial donation of the shed, the couple worked from January to June to bring Penny's vision for the store to life.

"She's always wanted to do this," Kenny Blankenship, 62, said. "It was her dream. I'm just the gopher."

Playing off the structure's rustic charm proved somewhat challenging at times, however.

"Getting it to not be his tool shed was the biggest problem," Penny Blankenship said.

Filling the building with an assortment of antiques, primitive furniture, Longaberger baskets, pottery, candles and other collectibles solved that dilemma. With the transformation complete, the store opened June 4.

From its front porch, the aroma of apple cider welcomes guests, lingering in the air like the early morning fog for which the store was named. Acoustic music plays softly in the background, while Tom, the Blankenship's orange tabby cat, snoozes nearby on his bed.

"I wanted a place where people could come and relax," Penny Blankenship said. "Somewhere they could sit back, talk and maybe have a cup of warm cider."

Foggy Bottom Antiques is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The store's schedule allows Penny Blankenship the freedom to maintain her day job as a registered nurse at Cabell Huntington Hospital. But the hours are somewhat flexible for shoppers desperate for antiques.

"I tell all my customers, 'If there's something you really need, knock on my door and I'll be glad to see what I can do to help.' "

An open house is scheduled for October 23, offering giveaways and door prizes for customers. The store is located at 10817 State Route 243. For more information, call (740) 867-6140.