Throughout my adult life I dreamt of three things. The first was to become a full time metalsmith so I could put my education to good use. The second was having a retail space in the downstairs of a historic building with an upstairs apartment. The third dream was to someday go back to Bastrop, Texas. I never thought these dreams would actually come true, but I never stopped dreaming.
My parents brought me camping at Bastrop State Park when I was in high school and I fell in love with the park, the tall pine trees, and the town. I always had it in the back of my mind, but never mentioned it to anyone. After our children were grown and we had become empty nesters, my husband Richard looked at me one day and asked what I wanted to do about staying in our home, or possibly downsizing. I told him that I had always wanted to go back to Bastrop. He was surprised to say the least, and had never been, so we took a weekend road trip to visit Bastrop. He fell in love with the town as well, so we decided to look for property. We couldn’t find anything we liked in Bastrop proper, so we opted for 5-1/2 acres in the country outside of Smithville. I told myself that even though it wasn’t in Bastrop, it WAS in Bastrop County, which was close enough! Our wooded property was beautiful and we built an awesome home that was designed by our oldest daughter who is an artist and an architect. We never imagined that we would lose our home and end up in Bastrop which was where I had dreamt of living! Dreams sometimes have a way of working out, even if it is the result of an unexpected turn in the road.
In 2011 we were halfway through with building our home in Smithville when the Bastrop Complex Wildfires came through our area. Luckily we did not lose our home, but we did lose 98% of our beautiful pine trees. We loved the peaceful country life we had, but for me something was missing. After years of marriage, raising children, and taking care of others, I had come to a point in my life where I realized it was time to focus on me. I had majored in studio art and metalsmithing in college, and had a home jewelry making studio/workshop, but had never pursued it as a real career.
I decided to open a small retail jewelry shop with the original intent of having a place to display and sell the jewelry items I was already making. Using the name “Relics” that I had chosen for my jewelry brand back in 2006, I opened my first shop in December of 2013. I rented a small 11’ X 12’ space in the R.A. Green Mercantile building on Main Street in Bastrop, just 15 minutes from our home. Having my own jewelry shop was great, but I found that not everyone who entered my shop was wanting to purchase jewelry. I decided to bring in a few small gift lines to compliment my jewelry, and found that the combination was very well received. Within the first 6 months I had outgrown that small space and moved to a larger rental building with 600 square feet of shop space. Richard helped me with ordering and setting up my books, and before long we found that we both enjoyed working at the business as well as working together.
Within a year after that move we knew that we needed even more space and better foot traffic, so we went looking for a building to purchase on Main Street. At the time, there were only a few buildings available in the historic district of downtown Bastrop, and most were in fairly sad condition. The building we ultimately purchased was not attractive, but had good bones, and the address was perfect: 925 Main Street. Sterling silver is commonly known as .925 percent pure silver, so we felt this address would be the one. In addition, we had plenty of experience with several home renovations, so we knew we could turn it into something good. We purchased our building on February 6, 2015 and immediately went to work. We applied for a Façade Grant that was being offered by the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation to downtown building owners, and our application was accepted. We contracted with Kim Casper of Caspro Builders to completely renovate the building’s façade, as well as add some interior walls and railings. We did most of the rest of the renovation ourselves with the help of our grown kids and their spouses, and a few local contractors. We removed most of the second floor inside of the building to open up the space and I spent three months removing plaster to expose the historic brick walls. It was really hard work, but definitely worth it. Our building now has a nice open feel with plenty of room for our gift shop, jewelry display counters, a metalsmithing workshop, storage space, and a dressing room.
The project took four months longer than we anticipated, but we were finished and ready to re-open our doors by October 2, 2015. After nine long months our grand opening had finally happened, but was bittersweet as a result of the Hidden Pines Fire that destroyed our home in Smithville. We lost everything but our beloved dog, our cars, and the clothes we were wearing on Oct. 14, 2015. This was just twelve days after we re-opened our shop. The silver lining to our tragedy was that we had great insurance and our building had a separate two story apartment directly behind it that we could live in. So, instead of rebuilding our home in Smithville, we decided to renovate the apartment and live above the shop. Again we called on Caspro Builders, not just to renovate the apartment, but to also connect it to the upstairs loft area of our shop. The apartment renovation took six months and we moved into our new home above our shop in September of 2016. We are now downtown urban dwellers and I can honestly say I’m living my dreams. Richard and I love our new home and comment often about how happy we are to be living above the shop. I’m especially happy with my new metalsmithing workshop, and look forward to producing some great new jewelry pieces to fill up the display cabinets!
So, as you can see, Relics Jewelry & Gift Emporium and living in Bastrop is the culmination of several lifelong dreams. I feel extremely lucky to have a husband who was willing to join me on the journey! Richard and I are completely devoted to Relics and to providing an excellent shopping experience for our customers. I’m continually producing new jewelry items, and together we are constantly on the hunt for new and unique items to sell in our shop. Whether searching for new inventory or restocking your favorite items, we always have our customers in mind, and strive to provide a wide range of beautiful items at the most affordable prices.