When I decided to start interviewing St. Clair County businesses I thought, "who do I start with?". One business kept popping up on my FB feed, Got An Idea Primitives. I called Paula Conduff and set out on my journey.
I got in my car, brought up Got An Idea Primitives on my FB, clicked "get directions", fastened my seat-belt, and away I went. Now I will say that driving into the country on roads less traveled I got a little nervous, am I going the right way?? But I recalled the numerous accounts on their FB page that the GPS directions are correct (Note: through conversation later I found out that Paula had taken measures to ensure so herself.) so I stayed the course and enjoyed the beautiful scenery that St. Clair County has to offer. After a short drive on a gravel road I noticed a primitive looking sign-post marked "Primitive Lane". I took the turn and moments later saw what looked like a cabin, a front porch decorated with furniture and hand-made signs. and positioned on a beautiful red front door was a primitive "welcome" banner. The sign above the cabin read "Got An Idea Primitives". When I got out of my car Paula and her "welcoming committee" (two cute and friendly pups) were quick to greet me and invite me inside where I signed a guest book Paula uses to log her guests and where they are from.
Conversation is easy with Paula. You quickly get the sense she loves her store and finding ways to reuse and repurpose the things others no longer want. The front door for example, her husband made from a 100 year old window and old hardware that Paula then painted and finished to show some age.
Me: "How long have you been in business?"
Paula: "We started 14 years ago selling wholesale and traveling to festivals. (Note: they received "Best in Show" at last years War Eagle Festival) Customers kept saying they'd love to see a showroom. We opened the store February of last year."
Me: "How do you advertise?"
Paula: "Facebook and word of mouth." Paula continues by telling me that she will host events on her FB page and will run a "like it, share it, add friends" contest. Then she pays a small fee to have FB boost her event. Her current event, "spring Fling" has been seen by over 8,000 people prompting phone calls and FB messages from surrounding states asking about shipping. Paula keeps her FB active by posting pictures and event reminders almost daily. Her page currently has 1,709 followers.
Me: "what sets you apart?"
Paula: "We reuse and repurpose, keeping things out of the landfill.". Her candle holders that have been a staple for quite a while came about as she was trying to find a use for scraps from other building projects. "I keep thinking people will be done with them but they remain a great seller." Another fun fact, Paula does all the painting and finish work herself using the same color palette. "Customers can purchase furniture today and know they can continue to buy matching pieces over time.".
Me: "what do you see in the future?"
Paula: "This, this is perfect to me. The store allows me to spend quality time with my kids and grand-kids.". Paula goes on to tell me how her family has worked for them for several years and continues to help with the store. There are pictures on their FB page of the kids and grand-kids helping out. "I appreciate my family being willing to work and learn what we do and at the same time we are teaching them good work ethics and to be hard working adults.". By the smiles in the pictures you can tell the kids and grand-kids appreciate it too.
The old saying "location, location, location." is true. Got An Idea Primitives would not have the same cozy feel in the middle of the city. However, I think Paula could find a way to make it work.
You can visit Got An Idea Primitives Friday and Saturday 9-5 at 1490 SE 600 Private Dr. or call 417-276-1621 for an appointment