Cynthia Davis knows the thrill of finding a special item in a thrift store. As a self-proclaimed collector, Davis has collected everything from antiques to nostalgic items of an older Ely people might still remember. Now an owner of her own thrift store in downtown Ely, called “Hwy 50: The Loneliest Thrift Store in America,” Davis looks to share that feeling of discovering unexpected treasures with her customers.
“I love the thrill of the hunt. You go in sometimes not knowing what you are going to find and end up seeing something special or unique,” Davis said. “In my store, I’m offering antiques, nice used furniture, thrift clothing and retro items. I’ve already had several customers thank me for opening a shop like this because it offers some unique and affordable things to come and discover.”
The store is a mix of items collected over the years by Davis, who said she ran out of room trying to store it all, and items she bought to be resold, the store offers something different from the average gift store. For her “retro” pieces, Davis has an entire section devoted to working items from the 1940’s and 1950’s. Set up in a display of metal irons to a fat burning machine complete with waist belt, Davis said that she was always amazed by the items that came out of those decades. Years after collecting them for her own interest, she said the items have been a hit with customers because they “are All-American made and they all still work.”
But there is also a display case located inside Hwy 50 that should offer a blast to the past of a more local kind to those that have lived in Ely their entire life. Inside the case are memorabilia from old businesses no longer in Ely, such as a pen from Mertle’s Beauty Shop.
“Not all of those are for sale. Some of them are here just to show people because I think they are really neat and it’s fun to look at them and think back,” Davis continued.
But for those more interested in practical goods that they can use outside of personal collections, Davis said she prides herself and her store on having classy used furniture that is “just a little nicer” than what people might be able to find in classifieds or online.
“I always thought that Ely needed a good used furniture store. I had a few really nice pieces that were used but still in great shape so I thought that I’d just do it myself through my store,” the owner said.
The same holds true for antiques, which is another big draw with customers.
But beyond what she sells, Davis said that she is excited to be a part of the current movement of new businesses filling previously empty buildings downtown. “it’s exciting to see these new businesses downtown like Plush and The Cup. I really hope more people and more businesses open up in this area,”she said.
Davis is planning a grand opening of the store at the end of the month. She is lcated on Aultman Street, next to Images Salon.