The eye-catching green and silver shop at 901 E. Main St. in Marion with quirky metal sculptures and yellow fences outside is hard to miss, though the owner says most of the store’s customers come from out of town.
Theresa Carroll opened TC’s What Not Shop nine years ago. On the day she opened the doors, most of the booth spaces were already filled with renters eager to have a place to show their wares. All told, there are 18 vendors who rent booth space to display their offerings.
Booth renters who help run the store get a break on their rent. That lets Carroll have some time away from the daily operation, though juggling everyone’s schedules can be difficult, she said.
“For a while I had so many people wanting booths, I gave up some of my room,” Carroll said.
The store offers antiques, collectibles, modern items, useful gadgets, homey décor pieces, ingenious creations, apparel, jewelry, magnets, gift items, college and sports memorabilia, and a host of other items customers are unlikely to find elsewhere in Marion. Walking through the store is like looking around in Grandma’s attic.
The store also carries natural products and homeopathic remedies such as organic teas, jellies, elderberry concentrate for allergies, tiger balm for pain, Bach flower for anxiety, and scented soaps and salts.
“When I find a product that I believe in and that works, I try and get it to sell local,” Carroll said.
What sorts of items go out the door changes from one day to the next, Carroll said. About 85 percent of the store’s clientele are lake visitors or travelers.
“A lot of dealers come from out of state and spend hundreds of dollars,” Carroll said.
Recent incidents have inspired Carroll to upgrade the store’s security system. Break-ins and attempted break-ins have resulted in new security cameras she can access from any phone or computer. A sensor light has been added near the entry. She also recently made other improvements to maintain the building.
Judy Dannenfelser is one of the several booth renters who also helps out in the store, providing customer service and adding up sales. Her booth could be described as “eclectic.” She loves antique furniture, curios and the like. The things she sets out for sale have evolved in the seven years or so she’s had a booth in the store, Dannenfelser said.
“What you like changes, and your interests change,” Dannenfelser said.
Dannenfelser said that when a customer is seeking a specific item that TC’s doesn’t have, she’ll refer them to other Marion stores.
“Marion has a lot to offer people who like to shop for antiques,” Dannenfelser said.
Last week Kay Huffman brought her daughter, Karen Stahl, of Newton, to TC’s.
“I come all the time,” Huffman said.
“This is my first time, and I’m impressed,” Stahl said. “I’ll come back.”