FLOWN THE COOP
Plucky couple leave the roost to open up shop in the Lone Star State.
We’ve seen this path before: Girl starts stopping at garage sales, is soon shopping thrift and antiques stores, and before long wants to start selling picked finds herself. Tiffany Eckhardt’s foray into business isn’t atypical, but it is inspiring nonetheless.
After learning the ropes as a vendor doing the flea-market circuit, Tiffany began to long for a permanent location of her own. With the encouragement of husband and business partner Jeff, the couple left their home in Ohio to their grown children to open a store in Burton, Texas, upon hearing a space had become available. “It was just meant to be,” Tiffany says. Despite its tiny size (population 300), Burton is an ideal spot for its proximity to Round Top, the behemoth antiques event held twice yearly.
Aptly named Flown the Coop, the couple’s shop specializes in artisanal and homestead goods. Tiffany and Jeff travel
OPPOSITE: The handpainted poem “General Store” by Rachel Field is displayed as a constant reminder of a realized goal. LEFT: “I am drawn to merchandise that inspires creating the life you desire,” Tiffany Eckhardt says.
ABOVE: Trademarks of Tiffany’s clever style include prescribed mixes of weathered wood and galvanized metal, graphic elements like letters and large patterns, and bringing the outdoors in with nature. RIGHT: An old chicken coop showcasing canning jars and industrial letters is a rhapsody in robin’s egg blue. BELOW: Jeff’s first venture into welding yielded unique shoe- mold bookends. OPPOSITE: With its open floor plan and exposed beams, this plumbing store from the 1940s sets the perfect stage for a mix of utilitarian objects, architectural finds, Jeff Eckhardt’s handiwork and more. A galvanized tub turned upside down makes a nifty table. Globe lights add elegance. throughout the country searching for discarded “junk,” including industrial, retro, and primitive antique pieces.
In addition to nurturing their own business, the Eckhardts support the shop-small movement. “I feel strongly about cross-promoting mom-and-pop businesses,” says Tiffany, who carries local honey, lavender products and art, among other goods. “Shopping with us is not only about finding that one-of-a- kind piece for your home; it’s also about supporting those who are fighting for their own American dream.”