Simply Sandy's features antiques, uniques

Sandy Warnock has traded life as Joseph's school district clerk to proprietor of her own business, Simply Sandy's. (Photo by Elane Dickenson)

Simply Sandy's is a new store that recently opened in an old house on Joseph Main St. in time for the summer season.

"It's a real eclectic mix," said proprietor Sandy Warnock about her merchandise, which is a combination of antique, vintage and old-style items. The words "Antiques and Uniques," appears on Sandy's business sign, and is very descriptive of her offerings.

"A lot of it is one of a kind. Stuff is going out of here faster than I can put it out," she said after her opening weekend near the end of May.

Every room in the small two story house - a kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms and living room - is full of furniture, artwork, decorator items, and a myriad of odds and ends, all of which would have looked at home in an earlier era.

Outdoor furniture with peeling paint ("shabby chic," Warnock calls it), old lamps and medicine cabinets, silk roses, galvanized tubs, granite ware dishes, an old church pew, grandma-style kitchen utensils, wire baskets and a window doily that says "welcome," an old ice cream freezer, ancient bird houses and hats - there's lots to discover in every room at Simply Sandy's.

"This is how I do my own house. I love my old things," said Warnock. She was very gratified with the response and welcome she has received since opening, especially from local people. "My prices are very reasonable. I want to focus on locals."

Among her other merchandise are things made by locals that fit in well with her store that she sells on consignment.

Warnock's great-great grandparents helped settle Wallowa County. Though she was mainly raised outside the county, she has now lived here most of her life. She had been working as Joseph School deputy clerk and business manager for over three years until budget necessities forced the school board to decide to cut her position and contract with Education Service Distict to cover her responsibilities.

"It was hard when I first found out, but I understood the situation. They are between a rock and a hard place," she said. "I thought and prayed about what I would do next, and this is what I came up with."

Warnock is no stranger to business and is very versatile when it comes to finding ways to make a living in Wallowa County. In the past at different times she managed Four Season Sports, owned and operated Mode O'Day, and worked for Bank of Wallowa County before it became Community Bank.

Before taking the final plunge, Warnock sought advise from Myron Kirkpatrick of Wallowa County Business Facilitation program. "He was a great help. He developed a spread sheet for me that's a great management tool and gave me excellent advice," she said.

Before moving into the old house at 305 North Main St., which had long been occupied as a rental, she had a "ton of work" to do, including repainting every room and tearing off linoleum and carpet off floors. Among helpers were her grown son Heath Kellermann, who now lives in Lake Oswego.

Hours at the store are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; the phone number is 432-3211.

In the future Warnock said she may try some different, fun things with her business, such as offering classes or catering a ladies' night out.

In the meantime, she's happy to be facing the challenge of keeping her new store stocked full of old things.   

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