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VIDEO: New owner brings fresh look to longtime antique shop in historic Salmon Arm building

Carmen Schmid reopens space as Curiosity Shop & Retro Haus Design

A longtime Salmon Arm antique business located in an historic building is sporting a refreshed look and feel, courtesy of new owner Carmen Schmid.

Schmid took ownership of Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe last November. Previously, it had been run by Joyce Skinner since 1995. Like the vintage/antique products within, the location itself is unique, in that it is accessed by the alleyway between Alexander and Ross streets, and is located at the bottom of the Masonic Lodge which was constructed in 1922. According to Skinner, the space once served as a bathhouse.

“I love history and I’m glad it has a sassy past – anything with character I love,” said Schmid who, through interactions with Skinner, was encouraged to buy the shop.

“I hadn’t intended on buying a business… but it was serendipitous that Joyce and I connected the way we did,” said Schmid. “She just really felt I was the right soul for this shop and I kind of felt that too. It was very personal.”

Schmid hails from Kamloops and, prior to locating to Salmon Arm, she had a lengthy career working as a professional photographer in Vancouver and Los Angeles.

Schmid moved to Salmon Arm to be close to her parents. Taking over the antique store, she explained, was a way of “recreating” herself with another passion.

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“I’ve always loved vintage antiques since I was a kid, so it sort of made sense,” said Schmid. “It was kind of full circle for me. And also I restore and redesign antique and vintage furniture. And that’s what actually led me to come in and talk to Joyce.”

After taking over the business, Schmid enlisted the help of volunteers who, over several months, helped renovate the space to fit her vision for it. Carpeting was torn out, floors restored, walls painted white, new lighting installed. The end result is a brighter, more open space that is now home to Schmid’s renamed Curiosity Shop & Retro Haus Design. The shop, which formally reopened April 6, features curated collectibles, vintage items and antiques.

“These items, they’re not only old – some are 100 years old, they’re still here today – the quality surpasses the quality of a lot of items made today,” said Schmid. “I think the newer generation is very concerned about the environment and I want to bring back reuse of vintage items, not necessarily just for decor, but are utilitarian as well.”

Schmid said she’s in the process of adding tags to items being sold, providing a history of each “because I think it’s important for people that are in here buying, who may not be collectors, to understand about, for example, Depression glass and the history behind it, because it makes it more special and unique.”

Schmid is open to taking items on consignment, and visiting residences of people who may have antique items they’re interested in selling.

With Retro Haus Design, Schmid reimagines and restores antique furniture “using only high-end artisanal products.”

In addition to the new look, visitors to the Curiosity Shop will also be greeted with vintage tunes spinning on a record player at the back.

“I would have things like poetry readings, art shows – I kind of want to bring a little bit of my culture from big cities, I want to bring some of that here to Salmon Arm,” said Schmid. “I want to incorporate some of that into the shop and make the shop interactive as well.”

More information can be found on the Curiosity Shop & Retro Haus Design page on Facebook, where images of new items are posted regularly.
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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