Small businesses are important to communities and running a business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!
Coming home. That’s how it feels when you enter Georgie Emerson Vintage.
Here you will find a comfortable atmosphere filled with beautiful things. Here you will find kind people who can’t wait to see what you have chosen. You will find laughter and a sense of belonging that will make you want to stay and shop just a little longer.
In every nook and cranny you will find something special, something you won’t find in any other store. Not to mention Pippa, the precious rescue dog who presides over the shop, accepting kisses, ear scratches and other forms of attention lavished on her by loyal shoppers and admirers.
When Polly McCormick was a little girl and people asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said Nels Olsen on Little House on the Prairie. “I always wanted to be Nels, to have that store counter. So I would play general store and my parents would be my customers,” she laughed.
Today she owns what she calls a vintage lifestyle shop with an enormous sales counter, large rolls of paper and twine, and an atmosphere that would make Nels proud.
She described her childhood with a mother who took her to yard sales, flea markets and auctions. They would find old pieces to clean, reimagine and transform into treasures. “She taught me to paint, sew, craft – I guess you could say it’s in my blood,” she said.
Yet, the road from playing mercantile to owning one was long and painful at times. She had a corporate career for several years and was working as Human Resources Manager for Big Lots when her parents fell ill and she took time off to care for them. After her father died, Polly said she worked to keep her mom in her own home for about seven years. During that time, Polly opened a booth at an antique mall, quietly growing this business and working part time at the antique mall where she learned about working retail.
It was after her mother passed in 2012 that Polly was feeling a little lost and the seeds of Georgie Emerson were planted. With encouragement and support from her husband Mick, a small shop in downtown Canal was born. But that first 485 square foot shop was short lived as the business grew quickly. In fact, they are now in their fourth location, a 5,000 square foot space that allows Polly and her girls and guys to play with displays and to create charming vignettes at every turn.
Her girls and guys are a few of the 29 local people who create handmade items that are available only at Georgie Emerson. Some helped Polly look past dirt and junk to transform their current location from cavernous to cozy. “I couldn’t have done it without their help. I might not be here if it weren’t for them,” she said.
Those 29 artists and artisans from Canal Winchester, Lancaster, Pickerington, Ashville and points in between work in a number of mediums including ceramics, woodworking, crafting, sewing, metalwork, jewelry and painting. These Georgie Emerson exclusive items give the shop a sense of handmade flair to accompany fine quality vintage and antique items, and carefully curated reproduction pieces.
Clothing and accessories, furniture, wall art and a host of decorative items pack the store without feeling overwhelming
Polly finds inspiration in French country as well as modern farmhouse, using a palette of soft colors, beautiful textures and weathered patinas to create a sophisticated yet simple and warm environment. “And fun! We want people to have fun with their homes. We want them to have fun with us,” she exclaimed. “I want people to feel like they got a hug when they visit here. Having a bad day? Shop here and you’ll laugh, you’ll be inspired, you can pet a dog and be happy,” she gushed while gesturing toward Pippa tucked away in her bed on the counter. Little Pippa presides over the shop, eager to meet a new friend and to greet an old one. People frequently pick her up, cuddling the affectionate little dog while they browse.
While Pippa clearly enjoys the attention, it seems her human friends gain something special from the interaction as well. “People just love Pippa and you can tell it makes their day better having her here,” Polly said.
Pippa isn’t the only one to give special attention to customers. Watch Polly interact with customers for a few minutes and it is clear that she takes an interest in everyone who comes in. She knows their birthdays, the names of their pets and what they purchased last time. She inquires about a sick grandmother and about whether someone else is ready for their big move. She’s so friendly and engaging with everyone around her that the store takes on the atmosphere of a slumber party at times.
“I guess I’m kind of a dreamer and have a bit of gypsy soul,” she said. “But in all my dreams, I never imagined it would become what it is today.”
The store that began as a tiny shop in 2012 continues to grow. Soon they will open Georgie Celebrates, a classroom space that will be available for rent for small parties. Polly expects the space to be available by spring.
Want to visit? George Emerson Vintage is located at 360 West Waterloo Street in Canal Winchester. Call 614.562.9938 or follow them on Facebook for updated hours and information. They go live on Facebook at least once a week and often post pictures and videos of new merchandise so be sure to follow them for the latest news!
Want to see more of the merchandise? Check out the slideshow below!