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Repurposing everything – even a building

Shop owner turns a piece of local history into a new store that carries rustic decor and more

ALBANY – Dorrie Manon hopes to make an impact on her community, and she’s made her start by utilizing a building with a long, important history in the village.

Manon, 52, of Fenton, opened Rusty Silo Home Decor and Gifts at 203 S. Main St. on Nov. 15.

The one-room shop may be small, but it has a wide selection of affordable farm chic Americana, wooden inspirational signs and other decor made from rustic materials.

Don’t confuse the two-story brick structure, which is neither rusty nor a silo, for the C.F. Lusk and Sons Dry Goods store – that was one of the tenants over its 120 years, and its painted logo still is visible along the front of the building.

Manon grew up in Albany and loved the old store long before setting up shop there.

“I always wanted to have that building, and I thought it was very interesting,” she said. “I always wanted to have my own craft store.”

Most of the wood she uses is old barnwood, or comes from chicken coops and wooden buildings that were a part of the local scenery for generations. She also sells old feed sacks, homemade dish cloths, and lawn and garden ornaments, which will move out to the front once the weather gets nice.

Select vendors also sell products there. Handcrafted soaps from Designer Bubbles of Morrison, run by twin sisters Deb Maxson and Dawn Dewey, have been a big seller.

Scents such as hot buttered rum and pumpkin spice “sell like hotcakes,” Manon said. “When you walk in, the store smells so good.”

Manon also is helping other small entrepreneurs in the area thrive. She and Dewey worked for Damhoff Auctions in Morrison, and it didn’t take long for the sisters to find space to sell their soaps once Manon opened shop.

“She’s really helped a lot tremendously with putting it out there on her storefront,” Maxson said. “It helps us reach out to the community and let them know what we have.”

Rusty Silo hopes to be the herald of more to come in Albany. The village has been without a chamber of commerce for a few years, and recently lost two Main Street restaurants: Julie’s Cafe and Mississippi River Cafe.

“A chamber is supposed to help bring new businesses into town,” Manon said. “I just wish they could get more things in town here.”

When George S. McCartney set out to establish a new business in Albany in 1899, little did he know that his Albany Review and two-story brick building would survive as long as it did, especially with four other failed newspapers before it.

The Review’s datestone remains on the front of the building – it moved out in 1925 and today is operated by Shaw Media.

Over the years, the building has been a barber shop and a flower store, and customers delight in sharing their memories.

“If these walls could talk. It’s been an antique store, and before an apartment it was a beauty store. It’s just fascinating to hear everything.”

She rents out the upstairs apartment, and space on the main floor soon will be renovated and named The Lusk Room, which will be available for baby and bridal showers, craft shows and other events.

Come explore

Rusty Silo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Find Rusty Silo on Facebook or call 309-428-5518 for more information.

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