Deena Warner of Chillicothe checked out a Victorian casket stand and tried to picture it in her home. It didn’t work. But the snowman ornaments made out of test tubes? Totally different story.
Deena Warner of Chillicothe checked out a Victorian casket stand and tried to picture it in her home. It didn’t work.
“I don’t happen to have any caskets at home right now,” she said. “But that’s pretty cool.”
But the snowman ornaments made out of test tubes? Totally different story.
“These are my favorite things in the store,” Warner said. “They’re going home with me.”
The store is Relics, an eclectic collection of miscellaneous antiques — very miscellaneous — and unique new items in a small strip of stores in the Averyville neighborhood, within eyesight of the McClugage Bridge in Peoria.
Owner Deb Opyd moved to Peoria from Madison, Wis., about three years ago. She found a dearth of funky, locally owned stores here.
“There’s not that many interesting places to shop here,” she said. “So I just decided to open my own place.”
Relics has a Web site, blog and Facebook presence. Next year, Opyd is going to start selling items online. But most of what she carries she picked out in person, not online.
“We travel a lot,” Opyd said of herself and her husband, Ben Faramarzi. “We go to Europe, and we bring things back.”
Faramarzi convinced her to expand from just antiques to carefully chosen new items, as well.
“This place where old and historical and fresh and modern all come together. And it works,” Opyd said.
She looks for one-of-a-kind items that aren’t usually found in Peoria.
“We have things that are really cool and funky and unusual,” she said. “Or artist-made items that are very special. We really love their stories.”
So among the old items — pictures and certificates, an early 19th century optical set of lenses and gauges, a wreath made of human hair, vases, random religious artifacts, books, jewelry and the aforementioned casket holder “for home wakes” — there are new scarves, decorative pieces and alphabet stamps in sign language.
The merchandise is constantly changing, and it’s not the only thing.
“We don’t have actual hours,” Opyd said. “But the hours are becoming more regular.”
Relics has been open for two years and has generated quite a following online. When Opyd would know what her hours would be on a given day, she’d send out an e-mail and post it on Facebook.
“I’d tell people when we were going to be open, and I’d have a line of 20 people waiting for me,” she said. “It’s kind of fun.”
Faramarzi has been helping her keep regular hours while she’s away for her other job. The store is usually open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and by appointment. To catch Christmas shoppers, it’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
The store is located next to the Cracked Pepper Bakery in the Averyville neighborhood, in which she’s proud to be investing.
“I’m trying to talk other businesses into moving into the neighborhood,” Opyd said. “The rent is reasonable. It’s kind of funky down here.”
Relics will be temporarily closing to move four doors down to a larger space in the same building in mid-January.
Faramarzi also wants to add to the ambience by opening a creperie nearby in the spring.
“That’s what I did in Paris for four years,” he said.
In the meantime, the couple continue their search for weird and wonderful things to sell at Relics.
“We call it Peoria’s best-kept secret, because nobody really knows we’re here,” Opyd said.
Jennifer Towery can be reached at (309) 686-3119 or email@example.com.
Where: 3402 NE Adams St.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
Phone: (309) 681-9588
On the Web: www.relics.typepad.com
What: Locally owned store feature unique antiques and new items