Terri Bessler and Shelby Anderson work together in two unique antique shops in historic downtown Tipp City. Terri, an Ohio native who has lived in Miami County for the past twenty years, owns Midwest Memories Antiques. Shelby, a Tipp City native, is the manager of Midwest Memories’ sister store, The Iron Dog Salvage & Antiques. Terri has owned Midwest Memories for the past 8 years, though the business has been in downtown Tipp City for the past 18 years. Iron Dog is a new shop, named after an iron replica of a dog who grieved his young owner’s passing early in Tippecanoe’s history. Terri and Shelby were recently interviewed for our #HomeGrownStories campaign.
On living in Miami County:
Terri – I am not from Miami County, but I have lived here for about 20 years. I grew up not far from here, over in New Carlisle. After college, I moved to Columbus for a while. We have family in this area and when our kids were younger we looked at Miami County and Montgomery County to move. Tipp City was just everything you ever wanted in a place to raise your children so that’s exactly what we did.
Shelby – I’ve pretty much been in Tipp City my entire life. Graduated from Tipp, did all of my extracurriculars here in Tipp, just very involved in the city. Caused a lot of trouble here growing up [laughs].
On Midwest Memories Antiques + The Iron Dog Salvage & Antiques
Terri – Iron Dog kind of grew out of Midwest Memories. I own Midwest Memories and have for the past eight years; it’s been in Tipp City for eighteen years. We were shifting to wood products and lots of salvage and we had no space for it. We knew we wanted to do something hip and cool and emulate Shelby’s personality a little bit. We also needed to have room for the bigger, larger, kind of chunkier stuff. We looked for a warehouse for a long time and couldn’t find anything that fit. We decided to do a storefront. The Iron Dog Salvage & Antiques opened two years ago on April 1st. We will have a Friday evening birthday celebration on March 31st to celebrate.
How they ended up working together:
Terri – Shelby is my daughter’s best friend from high school. So we have a long history and a wonderful connection. She’s mine.
Shelby – Right. Just another daughter, basically [laughs].
On the community response to Midwest Memories Antiques + The Iron Dog Salvage & Antiques:
Shelby – It’s been overwhelmingly positive. People just have a real passion for the repurposed and the industrial salvage kind of style that’s really come to fruition in the last couple of years and become really popular. I think it’s kind of cool that people are trying to take something old and make it new. People are really getting a grasp on the whole DIY thing, you know. We just provide the tools and the means to do it. We like to give them ideas on what to do and how to do it and show them cool pieces.
Terri – Having access to this much raw material just makes it so much easier. People can take that step. They don’t just see it and figure, “Well if I could find some cool stuff I could do something myself,” they can come in here and find the pieces they need and we can sit down and can help them with their projects and any kind of creative ideas that they want to do.
Shelby – We do custom pieces for customers. That’s one of our biggest draws. It’s keeping us crazy busy.
Terri – We have a lot of artists and fabricators that work with us, a lot of it’s produced off site. Shelby does design work with the customers.
What they love about Miami County:
Terri – I love the events, the community spirit and the cohesiveness of these wonderful small towns that have such unique things to offer.
Shelby – Yeah, there’s definitely a sense of community that you really don’t see anywhere else. Terri’s been all over Ohio, she’s seen it. There’s just a sense of home here. I think that’s what draws people here, especially when they come to Tipp City. This feels like an area where you can really grow your roots, just kind of settle in and live a good life.
Their favorite Miami County spots and events:
Shelby – I grew up in Tipp Park, collecting buckeyes behind the roundhouse and going on the bike trail. The Tipp City Park has a little place in my heart [laughs]. I also really like Duke Park in Troy, I think that’s a really nice open space with the soccer fields.
Terri – Restaurants, I’d have to say everything in downtown Tipp City.
Both – Coldwater! Coldwater is number one!
Terri – Basil’s in Troy is definitely a huge favorite. When people ask, “where’s a good place to eat,” I always tell them to stay in downtown. Everything in downtown is phenomenal.
Shelby – From coffee shops to Coldwater Cafe… you can’t send anybody anywhere without good recommendations. We have a lot of good small events down here too.
Terri – We love being open during events and having people mill in and out of the store. Seeing old friends as well as having the opportunity to make new acquaintances and make those new connections. In Miami County, you can go to an event and see people you’ve known forever and you can go to an event and meet tons of people that you’ve never met before. So many people are coming from outside of Miami County for events at parks and festivals, there’s the opportunity to meet some wonderful people.
Shelby – We’re seeing a huge draw in from all over, in surrounding counties and even from out of state. People are coming here that really see opportunity in Miami County.
Their most popular items at Midwest Memories Antiques + The Iron Dog Salvage & Antiques:
Shelby – Barn wood, slabs, barn siding and beams for mantles. A lot of people have really taken the reign and are being creative and doing something with the wood. Being able to come in here and see all of that and see the things that we’ve done really draw people towards the wood.
Terri – Upstairs we have over 25 vendors to shop from, a lot of people don’t realize at first, so they get to experience those as well. We have vendors that are local and I’ve had out-of-state vendors before. We have 25 vendors here and we have 100 vendors down at Midwest Memories. We have a large family of vendors. They’re the people you sit and talk to. You sit down, have a glass on a Friday night, you get to know them and become involved in their lives. It really becomes a family.
This story first appeared on the Miami County Convention and Visitors Bureau website. Follow author, storyteller and interviewer, Courtney Denning, at ThisOhioLife.com.