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A gift shop called home is a comfort trip

Oct. 28, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

One of the best known films of all time was "The Wizard Of Oz" as well as the beloved closing lines that Dorothy spoke when she magically arrived back to her beloved state of Kansas: "Oh Auntie Em, there's no place like home."

For most of us, the phrase, no place like home, has become a cliche we use after returning from a vacation, or an extended shopping trip. But to be able to return to your childhood home, and once again live within the very walls that surrounded your youth, now that gives a rock solid definition to the phrase -- there is no place like home.

The old home place has changed over the decades for Ron Duty. Especially if you consider he is now a grandparent. There have been updates, a few new roofs have been needed over the years to keep the rain out. The large stately maple tree in front of the house is no longer the small sapling it used to be. The neatly manicured yard, along with the hand crafted wheelbarrows full of bright yellow mums and brightly decorated flags, all provide a hint to the wonders inside.

Located directly behind Lowe's Department store in South Point, at 161 Township Road 1020, is a unique shop owned and operated by Ron and Janie Duty. Seems like only yesterday that they opened for business. But this past summer, they celebrated 10 years of growth. The name of their family business is (what else): "No Place Like Home."

"Ron grew up in the original house that contained eight rooms," said Janie. "Since then, we have added another three more rooms, we even built a new home next door. We can now boast of 11 rooms that are virtually filled with country primitives. It seems like we have been adding on ever since we started this business over 10 years ago."

The Dutys used to make several trips each year to the Amish country in Ohio. Each visit only increased Janie's interest in crafts and related items which eventually blossomed into her own shop. A retail shop with all the amenities you would expect from a four star business, and it all began in the house that Ron grew up in. In fact, a very beautiful display of Americana items now occupies his youthful upstairs bedroom. Other items on display on the second floor are full size quilts, a large assortment of lamp shades, cans of various primitive colors of Olde Century Paint, and framed artwork that seems to occupy every bit of free space that the walls have to offer.

The business has all the usual you would expect: layaway service, major credit card acceptance, local delivery on larger items, Facebook, and an email address. The Facebook page contains a generous assortment of professional well detailed pictures showing many of the items they have in stock. They also offer catalog sales, and even a wedding registry, now how uptown is that?

"Our shop is special, because we have made it special," said Janie, as she was leading the way to the Christmas room full of seasonal items. We walked past rows of McCall's Candles and wax tarts with an aroma that quickly attracted your senses. Another room contained Johnson Bench Works primitive furniture that looked anything but primitive.

In fact, one room was actually labeled as the Primitive Room. Again, there was more framed art hanging in abundance. Old looking crocks, jugs, woven throw rugs and dolls that looked like Raggedy Anne's first cousin. There were attractive shelves and reproductions of wooden troughs that look exactly like the ones great grandmother used to make dough balls in.

Catchy little wooden phrases printed on primitive wood were hanging throughout the entire shop. They brought back memories of the old road side Burma Shave signs that dotted America's highways from decades past.

"We welcome shoppers and lookers alike," said Janie. "We've built a solid business out of customer respect, and appreciation. This business doesn't succeed on its own, it continues through hard work, and when required -- long days. We also are always mindful of the blessings that God bestows on those who are honest and hard working."

Speaking of hard work. Behind many successful family-operated business lies the ever present hard-working husband. In this particular case, it's Ron. That well-manicured front lawn, and freshly-painted outside decor is Ron's handy work. He also makes the miniature wooden wheelbarrows, corn hole games and provides general maintenance on an as needed basis. And he does it all for nothing more than room and board. On the day of this interview, Ron was once again, supporting the business somewhere behind the scene.

Janie tries to put together a periodic newsletter that contains information and items of interest for those on her mailing list. If you have an interest in country home decor, related gift ideas, or unique seasonal items, send them your email. The cost of sending items through the mail prevents home delivery. Their email address is jlduty25@yahoo.com.

The shop is located in South Point. If you are driving west on the four lane (U.S. 52), turn left at the traffic light at the west end of Lowe's Department store. Less than a city block, look for the big sign: "NO PLACE LIKE HOME." Turn left again, it's right down the street on your left. If you get lost, their number is 740-894-9000. They are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

If you have an interest in seasonal placemats, curtains, bathroom accessories, the kind of doilies that your grandmother made, lamps, pillows, stationary items, chandeliers, soup and cheese balls fixings, jellies and jams, cookbooks, and little signs like; "It All Begins And Ends With Family." This place is worth the visit. After all -- there really is no place quite like home.

Clyde Beal is an area freelance writer interested in family stories of ordinary days. Write him at archie350@frontier.com.

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