Make yourself at home

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Angela Dahlhauser (left) along with Angela Lee, and Mike Dahlhauser (not pictured) started their store 3:17 Vintage Furniture and Home Decor over Labor Day weekend this year. (Gazette staff photo by Avery Cropp)

Trio makes vintage profit with shop in Afton

Behind the doors of 3912 St. Croix Trail in Afton awaits a place where old things get a new twist at {3:17} Vintage Furniture and Home Decor. An Oakdale trio is working on turning a shared hobby for refinishing furniture, crafting and creating connections into a new business venture.

The business, owned by Angela and Mike Dahlhauser and Anna Lee, aims to breathe new life into old things. They’ve managed to take their works from twice-a-year sales in an Oakdale home to having, hopefully, monthly sales at their shop with new merchandise every month.

“I guess for us, my husband (Mike) owns a finishing company, so we started redoing furniture pieces and then we met Anna,” Angela Dahlhauser said.

“I had done it as a hobby for several years just for fun,” Lee said.

“We decided that since we were all so creative … we all started doing it together,” Angela Dahlhauser said. “We’d clear out our entire house in Oakdale, stage everything to give it a homey feel, and sell our things two times a year once in the winter and once in the summer. But, it got to be so busy that we needed to find a new location, so when we drove past this place, we saw a “for lease” sign out front, and we just took a leap of faith.”

The leap of faith has paid off for them as they’re getting a very warm response from people who stop in their store and from the community of Afton.

“We have a handful of regulars who come through here a lot, and they like to make themselves comfortable, have a hot drink and just hang out and look at the pieces we have in our store, which we love,” Lee said. “We always tell everyone who comes in to make themselves at home.”

“Usually you only find stores like ours in Buffalo and Elk River, and people really enjoy having one at this end of the cities,”  Angela Dahlhauser said. “We have a lot of people from Wisconsin who like the fact that they can just come across the river to find us.”

They find their pieces at garage sales, estate sales, auctions and through word-of-mouth. They work with everything from tables, chairs and benches to signs and cabinet pieces.

“Sometimes the amount of stuff we have gets a little crazy, and it can get time-consuming when it comes to the details,” Angela Dahlhauser said. “Sometimes you know what you want to do with a piece right away, and sometimes you know it’s a piece you have to have but you don’t know what you’ll do with it.”

Ideas come from different places, including the social networking site Pinterest, other pieces they’ve finished in the past, and sometimes simply words, phrases or scripture verses for things such as signs that can go up in homes. They do custom orders, work with consigners and dealers, and also provide item or prop rentals for weddings, portrait studios and other events.

Prices vary widely, but many pieces are relatively affordable. A certain kitchen table at the shop costs $165, and four matching chairs are sold separately at $40 each. Angela Dahlhauser said the main price range is $18-68 for smaller things like coffee tables and end tables.

Each piece in the store is unique in its own way and it seems part of a trend of people turning to vintage around the country.

“I don’t know why it’s starting to be a trend,” Angela Dahlhauser said. “I think people like finding stuff that they can’t find anywhere else. They don’t want to have someone come in and say ‘I like that cabinet. You got it at Pottery Barn right? I have it in red.’ I love creating things for people that they enjoy, that are affordable, and help people find something they love. We want people to walk into our place, like what they see and be able to take it home.”

The Dahlhausers and Lee continue to work their day jobs, but they love being able to make connections with people.

“We named our store 3:17 based on Colossians 3:17, which is a scripture that says: ‘Whatever you do or say, do it all in the name of the Lord,’” Angela Dahlhauser said.
“We hope for the best, and we want to be able to do things with more of a purpose behind it,” Lee said.

“We just want to be a blessing to others even in the smallest of things,”  Angela Dahlhauser said. “Just being able to put a smile on their face is our goal.”

The owners’ goal is to have the store open the second weekend of every month from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. But they say it will be open almost every Saturday and Sunday between now and Christmas.

For more details find the store on Facebook at facebook.com/317vintage

Contact Avery Cropp at avery.cropp@ecm-inc.com

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