With the dawn of 2014, a bevy of new businesses have debuted — or will debut — in the heart of Elizabeth and Elbert.
The list includes several well-known area antique shops, which are in the process of relocating, and a western-themed boutique bringing new life to a once-popular State Highway 86 location.
Sonflower Antiques, for many years a mainstay of Elbert’s business community, closed last month and will reopen in early January in a new location in downtown Elizabeth.
Sonflower’s owner, Pam Richardson, said she expects to be back in business by the first or second week of January in her new store at 244 Main.
Richardson’s former 4,500-square-foot gallery in Elbert, located at 2295 N. Elbert Road, was a popular antique mecca for nearly 15 years.
Meanwhile, Dancing Wolf Gallery, which for a number of years had been doing business just two days a week in a renovated, historic Elbert church a quarter mile east of Elbert Road, is moving into Sonflower’s former location.
That building is currently closed while undergoing a major interior renovation. Debra Sherman, the owner of Dancing Wolf, said she is targeting Feb. 1 for the gallery opening.
Sherman plans to continue to operate her church gallery too but is shifting the bulk of her business to the new location.
Dancing Wolf specializes in cowboy and Indian-themed antiques and artifacts but Sherman said the new location will also carry a wide variety of traditional antiques and arts and crafts.
The new store will be open Wednesday through Saturday, Sherman said, and “possibly on Sunday afternoons too.”
The old gallery will be open by appointment, “at least until my husband Lee retires,” Sherman added.
Meanwhile, two new businesses have opened recently in the heart of Elizabeth — Lil’ Bit Ranchy, located at 322 E. Kiowa along State Highway 86 and Randy’s Antiques and Art at 211 Main.
When Sonflowers opens later this month, downtown Elizabeth’s budding “antiques row” — which also includes Sisters Antiques and The Carriage Shoppes — will have doubled in size.
Randy Wallace, owner of Randy’s Antiques and Art, has been a business partner of Richardson the past five years.
“Pam and I are still working together but in two separate, smaller shops,” said Wallace, referring to the “cozier” 500-square-foot stores he and Richardson will be operating just a block from each other.
“We specialize in quality,” said Wallace.
At the corner of E. Kiowa Ave. and State Highway 86 in Elizabeth, just a stone’s throw from Main Street, Brenda Moore is operating Lil’ Bit Ranchy, a new Western-themed boutique.
Moore said that since the store opened on Black Friday — Nov. 29 — “business has been just fabulous.”
“The community has been really receptive and supportive,” said Moore, a longtime county resident who spent eight years working for the Pro Rodeo Association and together with her husband Simon still competes in rodeo team roping events.
“Everyone is really happy there is something going on here in this building again,” Moore said. Lil’ Bit Ranchy is located in the former White Buffalo store, which was owned and operated by Ginger McIntire until her untimely death in a motorcycle accident several years ago.
McIntire’s daughter Joei is renting the historic, white clapboard house to Moore.
Lil’ Bit Ranchy carries everything from furniture and clothing to housewares and jewelry — all with a decidedly western flare.
“We try to buy and consign as much as possible from local vendors,” Moore said.
“Elbert County has been home for 20 years,” Moore added. “We felt like there was a real hole in this community after Ginger died and are thrilled to be able to open our business here.”