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New shop in town
A new antique mall in Willows has been the buzz in the downtown for a couple of years.
The opening Tuesday of the Gathering Marketplace on Sycamore Street made Holly Myers' long awaited dream a reality.
Myers' new market cooperative opened with five vendors selling a variety of antique and vintage items, home decor and collectibles.
Myers also owns The Gathering of Better Junque across the street.
"I really like it," said June Stewart, as she browsed the co-op's vintage collectibles, household items and jewelry. "It's got a lot of nice old stuff. Willows needs more stores."
Visitors Tuesday not only marveled at the contents of the Marketplace, but its interior.
Myers removed the late 20th century plaster that covered the historic building's east wall, exposing the original brick.
The building was modernized about 20 years ago for use as a downtown liquor store.
Visitors said the building's refurbishment now matches the eclectic feel that is downtown Willows.
"It's adorable," said Veronica Gomes. "It's another nice thing to draw people to town. It's got a lot of fun stuff and it has something for everyone."
Small towns across California have discovered niche markets in historic downtowns as a way to compete with big box retail outlets.
Many, like Winters, started with specialty stores like antiques, and expanded to include local art, outdoor cafes and entertainment, making their historic districts refreshing detours for travelers.
Between Gathering Marketplace, The Gathering of Better Junque, Nordyke's Antiques and the expected opening of other antique stores in the historic downtown, Willows could be on a similar path.
The annual Vintage Country Flea Market in the Redwood Springs Garden on County Road FF is also an antique draw for Willows.
The event will be held Oct. 20 with about 25 antique dealers, and may be incorporated into a downtown event in the future.
"We want Willows to be a destination place people want to come to," Myers said.
Tuesday's grand opening of Marketplace was busy with customers, but Myers said new and returning vendors should keep the place full of newly arriving merchandise.
"I'm glad we're open," Myers said. "It's a relaxing place to be."
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.