FLOWN THE COOP

Plucky cou­ple leave the roost to open up shop in the Lone Star State.

Country Sampler's Prairie Style - - In The - WRIT­TEN BY PHO­TOGRAPHED BY STYLED BY

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.”

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