The Times West Virginian

July 21, 2013

New owners take over Front Porch location

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

SALTWELL — The Front Porch Consignment Shoppe wants customers to find treasures that fit their price range and their needs and wants.

The store, located in Saltwell on Old Route 73 about 2 1/2 miles north of Exit 125 off I-79, is now under new ownership. Crystal and John Bast recently bought the business, which they have been operating for approximately three weeks.

The Front Porch has several rooms filled with home decor, furniture, antiques, collectibles, fine glassware, dolls, jewelry, art, quilts, creations from local crafters and more.

Many people in the area remember the building as the former Frachers Meat Market, and customers will notice how an old meat locker — with the doors removed — has been transformed into a nice display space. A new room was also opened recently to house more items.

“You just never know what’s going to come through here,” John said. “If it goes in your home or around your home, it’s probably in here. You’re going to see a little bit of everything in here.”

Most of the inventory is made up of items that John and Crystal have found at garage sales, auctions and other places in the state. The couple tries to price the pieces according to what makes sense for the area and strives to keep everything fair and reasonable.

They also have some pieces from consigners in the shop. The Front Porch runs items 60 days on consignment in order to keep the offerings fresh and new.

Crystal said people love to come to the store to both buy and sell.

“That’s I guess the uniqueness of this type of shop,” she said.

The Basts get many customers who are into crafts and have a lot of creative ideas for the uses of particular pieces in the store. People always see things in different ways and have unique tastes, John said.

“It’s fun to just hear their ideas,” Crystal said. “It’s just fun to get to know people. The people are so friendly.”

If a customer is looking for a specific item the shop doesn’t have, the owners will add the piece to a “wish list” and call the person if they find something that fits the request. They also try to assist people by directing them to other places that may have what they need.

In addition, Crystal and John want to help promote different community organizations as they are running their business and be good neighbors.

The couple, originally from Colorado, has lived in West Virginia for about a year and a half.

John, a contractor, had been traveling from Colorado to West Virginia to build jails and prisons, like the expansion of the U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton, for about four years. He and Crystal, who comes from a banking background, decided they would be able to spend a lot more time together if they lived somewhere on the East Coast, closer to John’s work.

“We were originally looking in Florida, but I came out and visited (West Virginia) and I just loved the area,” Crystal said. “I started just seeing what was here and what the (housing) prices were, and it just met our needs so much more. It just made so much more sense.”

They are outdoor enthusiasts, and ended up buying 75 acres of property about 20 minutes south of Salem in Doddridge County.

“There’s so much to offer here,” John said. “That’s what we saw from the outsider looking in. We just saw really a beautiful state with an opportunity for us to finish our lives.”

They were customers of The Front Porch’s previous owners, who originally opened the shop about two years ago. When Crystal and John found out recently that the owners were retiring and the business was for sale, they thought the timing was right, especially since their children are grown.

“We were collecting our own goods, which were overwhelming us,” John said. “We had always talked about taking on something like this. We’re at a point in our life where we could take something like this on.”

They bought the business two days before it was scheduled to shut its doors for good. The store was closed for about two weeks during the transition before it reopened.

“A lot of people were really happy when they found out it was staying open,” John said.

The shop is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 304-592-9503, go to thefrontporchconsignment.com or visit The Front Porch Consignment Shoppe on Facebook.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.