I don't know where to begin with our day today. It was fun, enlightening, educational and full of the "wow" factor. It involved a mini road trip, paper, vintage goods, antique buildings and old friends. How could it not be a great day with those ingredients?
We took off this morning and after our daily trip to the PO, we drove to Ravenna OH to an antique mall that John read about. Right off I-76, this 50,000 square foot building yielded some great goodies for each of us. We found a treasure trove of wooden letterpress letters and numbers, an antique photo album, lots of old rusty stuff for John and various other finds. We were there for several hours and only saw about half.
But then, the best part of the day happened. We got to visit with Laura and Todd Woofter. I met this dynamic couple at my store years ago and they became good friends. There have been many changes for these two in the past few years.
Laura had been making elaborate handmade cards and was selling thousands of them to upscale stores in NY. Now she has her own store in N Canton OH in a beautiful building complex. It is called Paper Allure and really reflects Laura's vivacious personality and unique creative abilities.
Just walking into the store is like walking into a party. Every detail assures one that this is going to be very special.
She specializes in custom invitations and announcements of all types. About 80% of her business is custom work. These are not your everyday humdrum printed missives. These are creative and unique.
Laura also has an unusual assortment of ready made, upscale stationery. If you go visit, and you should, be sure to look at the back wall where there are many, many ideas and samples. There is one prominent display of a wedding invitation that Laura created for singer Christina Aguilera a few years ago. It is amazing. What a wonderful little visit we had.
But wait! There is even more. Let me tell you about Todd. Todd went back to school and obtained his Master Gardener certificate a few years ago and is now Vineyard Manager at Gervasi Vineyards in Canton. He took John and I on a private tour.
Gervasi Vineyards is a new enterprise that promises to be spectacular. A 55 acre farm was purchased with 4 early 1800s buildings on the property. The owners are still in the process of remodeling and creating this wonderful entertainment area. One of the small buildings which was at one time a summer cottage for Herbert Hoover, has been renovated using old barn board for the floors and mouldings. The fireplace shown below is the original.
This building will be the MarketPlace and Gelato Bar. I could live there, it was so cozy and inviting. There were open beam ceilings, a loft, beautiful Italian stone counters and all that beautiful old reclaimed wood.
Next was the barn which will be the Italian Bistro. The barn is a marvel. There are curving staircases, soaring ceilings, massive beams, huge windows, large brick ovens and more reclaimed wood.
And another wonderful fireplace with a massive reclaimed beam mantle. And look at that floor.
The spacious, yet warm and cozy barn will not only have the Italian restaurant, but also a wine bar upstairs with couches and chairs. The whole concept and mission of the owners is to provide a beautiful setting for special events a small dinners. To further this vision there is a large almost completed pavillon with gaslight lanterns and a huge stone and brick patio both overlooking a lake and gardens.
The vineyard will surround the buildings and is already planted. The buildings also include the wine laboratory, the mashing room, the fermenting area and all the other necessary spaces needed in the creation of wine.
Although it was amazing to see all this coming to life and imagining how wonderful it will be, we really enjoyed seeing and hearing the excitement in Todd's face and voice as he gave us the tour of this facility. Being part of the beginning and learning all these new facets of the wine and restaurant business must make going to work such a pleasure and so rewarding. Needless to say, we cannot wait to see the finished property which is slated to open in March 2010.
Thank you so much Laura and Todd for a wonderful time!