Curating a different kind of secondhand shopping experience

05/10/2022

By Madison Bressler

One of the many human habits by the covid-19 pandemic is our relationship with our stuff. Spending months at home gave us time to go through attics, garages and basements and even to just sit among our belongings and realize we might not need so much. We spring-cleaned. We minimized. We donated, listed items on Facebook Marketplace.

One Happy Valley business owner saw it happening and acted fast. Jessica Dolan, owner of Room to Breathe, was already an expert in decluttering, helping clients simplify their homes. During the pandemic’s stay-home period, she began offering free, contact-less pickup of items people wanted to give up, some of which was donated to charities and some of which was sold to cover her expenses. Jessica knew that even though one person was discarding something, it might be interesting or valuable to someone else.  She took the idea and ran, realizing it presented an opportunity for a career change.

“Ironically enough, I still have notes that I wrote when I was about 15 about how I wanted to have an interior design/antique store of sorts at some point.  When Arcadian transpired, I had forgotten about that note and went to my memory box and found it.  It was nearly spot on with what I had just created,” Jessica said.

Her new venture became the reality of her childhood dream. An Arcadia is a person who lives a simple, quiet life. Jessica drew from this word to create Arcadian Consignment, Vintage, & Antique Co. The shop offers a curated variety of items for resale.

"I still have notes that I wrote when I was about 15 about how I wanted to have an interior design/antique store of sorts at some point.  When Arcadian transpired, I had forgotten about that note and went to my memory box and found it.  It was nearly spot on with what I had just created.”

Arcadian offers two distinct experiences: 1) Simplifying: considering what is important to you and freeing yourself from things that don’t bring you joy. 2) Repurposing: secondhand shopping benefits both the environment and the buyer when you consider that many vintage items are crafted from more durable materials with better craftsmanship.

Plus, secondhand items are often just more interesting, according to Jessica. “These are pieces that have stories and will create more stories in their new homes.  For every retro, vintage or antique item that comes into store, I just stop and ponder where it has been, who has owned it and what could it share if it could speak,” she said.

Her goal is to gather “unique, pretty, useful, and interesting, (maybe some odd) items in the store; not mass-produced items (for the most part), but rather one of the kind items that can really help create a beautiful space or bring back a great memory.”

Growing up in Happy Valley and having already invested 20 years in the area with Room to Breathe, Jessica could not think of a better place for Arcadian. She knew she wanted to be a part of the secondhand community along Benner Pike near Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, Apple Hill, LoveIt, and Centre Peace. Happy Valley’s hub for secondhand shopping, if you will.

“These are pieces that have stories and will create more stories in their new homes.  For every retro, vintage or antique item that comes into store, I just stop and ponder where it has been, who has owned it and what could it share if it could speak.”

Jessica said, “The building transpired at the precious moment it needed to and truly, everything fell into place so naturally.  It just felt like it was meant to be.”

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