From barn to storefront: Rustic Romance vintage furniture store reopens in Millers Falls

  • Rustic Romance owner Cindy Bayer, in her new storefront in Millers Falls. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Rustic Romance in Millers Falls specializes in a mix of antique and handcrafted home decorations.

  • Rustic Romance in Millers Falls specializes in a mix of antique and handcrafted home decorations. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Rustic Romance in Millers Falls specializes in a mix of antique and handcrafted home decorations. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/12/2020 3:04:12 PM

MILLERS FALLS — Cindy Bayer was cleaning out her barn in Greenfield when she noticed something funny. Not only were the old things she left by the curb quickly disappearing — they were reappearing on the online stores of local resellers.

So, she began her own sales out of her barn. Her store, Rustic Romance, grew over the last five years into a vintage furniture store with customers from across New England. Last week, Rustic Romance reopened in a storefront at 26 East Main St. in Millers Falls, giving it amenities like heat in the winter and convenient parking.

At first, when Bayer started working out of the Greenfield barn, every item she sold was handpicked by her. She would go to warehouse sales and on picking trips throughout the Northeast and Midwest. She also developed relationships with local craftspeople and sought items online from international sellers.

“I look for pieces that speak to me, that tug at my heart in some way,” Bayer explained. “I want this store to have a look and a feel and merchandise that people can’t find anywhere else.”

Now, as the store has become busier, Bayer also has “pickers” who trawl the Northeast. Sometimes she gives them instructions to find certain kinds of items, and sometimes she is still surprised. Last week, a picker in New Hampshire cleaned out an old factory full of Victrola record players.

“You never know what’s out there,” Bayer said. “And people have barns full of stuff everywhere.”

The style that has developed since the first barn sales is reflected in the name of the store, Bayer said. There is a basic “rustic” element of things like farmhouse furniture and ladders, but also decorative items and themes that rotate by season. Now, parts of the store are stocked with vintage Christmas decorations.

Because of how Bayer has used social media to market her store, she said Rustic Romance is known locally and as far away as Boston, New York and Connecticut.

Customers are mostly women, she said, and usually they know that they want a unique look. They may have a particular style in mind, or they may want one-of-a-kind pieces.

“They are looking for something that sets them apart from everybody else,” Bayer said.

Rustic Romance, at 26 East Main St., is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit rusticromanceatbayerfarm.com or call 413-774-3259 during open hours.


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