The Tri-County Trading Company in downtown Herington showcases the work of artists and craftsmen from Dickinson County and the surrounding area.
Booth and shelf spaces are filled with an assortment of handcrafted items such as candles, metalwork, jewelry, soaps, and even a few antiques.
“We love to showcase the talents of our area residents,” said Susan Mueller, one of the four partners and the brainchild behind the store. “You’re not going to walk in here and find junk from one of the big box stores.”
As the idea started developing in her mind, Mueller asked her friends on Facebook if they thought Herington needed a store like the former Miss Lizzie’s Emporium and Flea Market. Miss Lizzie’s was a place where people could rent booth space and sell merchandise.
The result was immediate and affirmative. Among those responding was Lynley Remy who not only thought it was a great idea but wanted to be part of it. Remy was getting ready to retire from a career in education and was looking for something new to do.
“Lynley and I got to talking about it,” she said. “The funny thing is both of our husbands said ‘you girls can do this just as long as it doesn’t cost us anything.’”
They had the perfect spot — an empty building that Mueller’s husband owns at 8 S. Broadway St.
“It’s such a prime location and we knew that the new (Family Dollar/Dollar Tree) was coming across the way and we have a wonderful thrift store right here so we were in what I considered a golden triangle as far as location,” she said.
Remy’s son Tye had also contemplated a similar business model and quickly came on board as well, Mueller said. The fourth partner, Kim Shields, jumped in because she likes to paint and there was a lot of painting that needed to be done.
“The four of us — we work here on a volunteer basis,” Mueller said. “We personally don’t take any money out of the store.”
Vendor fees cover the insurance and utilities, and the landlord cut them a good deal with the rent, she said. A calendar hangs on the wall where the four partners pencil in the days and times they can work.
“We don’t personally get anything out of it financially,” she said. “We do it because it’s good for our community.”
When they started looking at what they wanted in the way of vendors, they also looked at the community and what niche they could fill.
“We wanted to keep it as half-and-half a mix (between handmade and antique) as possible,” Remy said. “We didn’t want people to think this was just a craft shop. But we also want people to think it was just an antique shop. We thought it was a unique shop.”