Alva Review-Courier -

'All Things Fabulous' coming to Alva

 

December 18, 2016

Helen Barrett

'BIT 'O HEAVEN' – Vanessa Pettit Brewer and Tanya Pettit Sinibaldi hold up a sign that was their dad's favorite saying. The sign will be part of the décor in "All Things Fabulous."

The Pettit girls – Tanya Pettit Sinibaldi and Vanessa Pettit Brewer – are teaming up to fulfill not only their own dreams, but that of their dad, the late Buddy Pettit.

In addition to owning and operating the Alva carpet business, Buddy Pettit became known for his love and knowledge of antiques. He and his mentor, Harold Haley, shared their expertise with classes at Northwest Technology Center and at special "Antiques Roadshow" type events hosted by the Alva Cherokee Strip Museum.

"Dad was collecting for his retirement," Tanya said. "He was going to do antiques in his retirement."

When Buddy died suddenly, the girls couldn't bring themselves to disturb his vast collections. They were emotionally not ready to deal with all the memories. Ten months after losing her dad, Tanya's only son, Colton, was killed tragically in a car crash.

That tragedy seemed almost more than the mother and favorite aunt could handle. It seemed like life would never feel good again.

After graduating from Alva High School, Tanya left for Texas to attend college, get married and raise her family. She had a good job at the Texas Children's Hospital, but something was missing. Vanessa's life took her to New York and around the world before settling back in Alva.

Tanya wanted to come home.

Trips between Houston and Alva became more frequent as Tanya returned to help with the family business and to assist their mother, Judy, during recovery from surgery. During those visits, the pull to return to Alva grew stronger.

Tanya and Vanessa talked about opening a new business together that would not only fulfill their father's wishes, but allow each of them to share some of their personal passions with the community.

Tanya loved repurposing old, discarded items into attractive home décor. Vanessa's love of all types of art and crafting blended perfectly with her sister's interests.

Talk of opening a store began in March of this year. Within 24 hours of finding a building, things started falling into place.

Once Tanya's daughter, Maci, graduated from high school, the trips between Houston and Alva involved bringing Tanya's household belongings to Alva.

Leaving a good job and starting a new life seemed daunting at times, Tanya admitted.

"It felt so right," Tanya said. "I know without a doubt, this is where I'm supposed to be. When God is in control, things just fall into place."

Historic Building

The new store will be located on the west side of Alva's downtown square in a building that originally housed the Pix Theatre. More recently, it was home to The Bird's Nest Antique Shoppe.

"When we gutted the building, we found the original lighting of the Pix Theatre," Tanya said. "It's been fun. When we tore this apart, we even found a receipt book of payroll from the Bell Hotel. We'll be displaying that. We tried to reuse as much as we could to keep it original."

A little coffee shop in the middle of the building will pay homage to the theatre's history. Original movie posters and other theatre-themed items will decorate the walls. Customers can sip a cup of coffee while shopping.

"Mary Haley used to work at the Pix concession stand," Tanya said. "She's told us a lot about it."

They are both searching for more information on the Pix; if anyone has any to share, they would welcome hearing it.

A memorial wall will connect the front display room to the two other rooms in the back of the store. The wall will contain photos and advertisements of early Alva, Carmen and other nearby places. Items in this area will not be for sale.

"It's going to be a memory lane," Vanessa said.

Included on that wall will be the original Jack Hayward painting that hung in the old VFW and VIP.

"We saved it from the flood," Vanessa said. "That's part of Alva's memory."

The girls would love to hang other early Alva memorabilia, if someone has some to loan.

Something for Everyone

The store will feature a large variety of items – old, new, repurposed and specialty themed items.

"We are living out Dad's dream with a twist of our own," Vanessa said.

"Dad wasn't the 'blingy' type, but we are!" Tanya said.

For the past several months, they have been cleaning out barns and storage buildings. Some still remain untouched.

The girls admit that their parents' obsession with saving everything seemed unreasonable when they were kids.

"We griped about it all our lives," Tanya said. "We always complained that Mom and Dad had too much stuff."

Now that they've decided to open their new business, "We thank God every day that Mom and Dad were hoarders," they said.

Laughing, the girls said, "Grandma had it; mom threw it out, now we brought it back."

The new business has been a family endeavor. Vanessa's husband, Erick Brewer, manages the carpet store while the girls pursue their dream.

They even have their mother making things for the store. Judy crocheted several beautiful pieces that Tanya framed for wall décor.

Maci will join the business after Christmas when she moves to Alva to attend NWOSU.

There will be new items for men, women and children. They plan to add Goldbugs, Rangers and music items not normally available in Alva to their inventory.

The process has been both difficult and healing for the sisters.

This year, they dug out the big Santa Claus for the window at Pettit's Carpet. It had been a family treasure and tradition since Tanya was a child. Last year, the memories associated with the figure were just too painful to confront.

This year, Santa came out of hiding and again appeared in the window, to the delight of many in the community.

"We didn't realize how much Santa meant to a lot to people," Vanessa said. "We didn't know that people would take their kids up there after hours and take their pictures in front of him."

"There's been ups and downs. It's been a lot of work, but it's enjoyable," Vanessa said. "We just complement each other so much. The things she doesn't do, I do."

After the first of the year, Vanessa plans to have stamping classes at the store in conjunction with the scrapbooking store in Cherokee and a craft club Ladonna Ritter has provided for years.

"We don't want to be a corporation of cookie cutter stuff, we want to be special, unique – one of a kind things," Vanessa said.

Construction on the new business is complete. The girls are busy setting things up now. They intend for the store to be open this month.

"The third room won't be ready, but the first two rooms and hallway will be open," they said.

One of the biggest benefits of the entire venture has been the rejuvenation of their family.

"The town of Alva has been so good to us," Vanessa said. "We are so blessed to be part of this community."

"People don't say welcome back, they say welcome home," Tanya said.

"I get to play for a living," Tanya said. "It's so much fun. It's so gratifying to take something that is broken, somebody was throwing it out, and somebody else loves it."

The girls say they don't tear up good antiques to repurpose them.

"We don't destroy things to make something new. We repurpose the broken stuff – and add sparkle," Tanya said.

"If you see the Pettit girls going through the dumpsters, just smile and wave," the girls said. "We'll just be looking for treasure."

 

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