March 25, 2015

Small Business Spotlight: Keys to the Attic

Keys to the Attic in Fishtown is a furniture store that is anything but ordinary. This antique consignment boutique sells vintage home furnishings and household decorations that are, as owner Catherine Jennings puts it, “shabby chic” and “cottage style.” Not only do they sell refinished goods, but they also offer untouched furniture that you can refurbish yourself with their helpful guidance. Keys to the Attic offers a hands-on shopping experience that you would have a hard time finding anywhere else.

Keys to the Attic

Catherine started this business after being laid off from a corporate position as a web designer. She decided not to let the stress of the situation drag her down and reinvented herself instead. She had always been passionate about the beauty of vintage furniture and decided to go into the business of repairing and refinishing quality vintage furniture. With a little bit of luck, she was able to acquire a very attractive storefront on Girard Avenue and got to work creating her dream.

Inspired by her youthful shopping expeditions to yard sales, thrift shops and flea markets and the beauty of the antique furniture she came across, Catherine aims to expose people to the appeal of these gorgeous, classical home furnishings. She loves that people come to her for help with their home decor and she strives to find the perfect piece for each customer. She also encourages people to take on new projects like refurbishing or repurposing their own furniture. Catherine feels that her greatest accomplishments are when people send her pictures of their finished products. She even invites design students into her store and encourages them to “do whatever they want” and let their creativity run wild. When we asked what the most popular items in stock were, Catherine responded “we absolutely have a hard time holding onto bookcases, dressers and desks” and encouraged shoppers to follow their Facebook page in order to keep up with hot products and snag them before they disappear.

Catherine’s favorite part of running Keys to the Attic is being able to meet all of her Fishtown neighbors. She states, “It’s so much fun when I see [customers] at one of our many fantastic bars and restaurants.  It is kind of like running into old friends. “She also adores stocking her inventory and finding new treasures. She is always on the lookout for quality furnishing and confided that a great deal of her products are simply, “things that we come across in our travels.” Catherine and her staff also enjoy getting crafty and explained that they “frequently do things like paint with milk paint and chalk/clay-based paint, replace glass frames with chicken wire, and use scrap wood to make decorative pieces for the home.” Catherine Jennings is one business owner who pours every ounce of passion that she has into her work.

Catherine Jennings (Owner of Keys to the Attic), Alan Greenberger (Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce)

Keys to the Attic is not only focused on their success but the success of the entire Fishtown business community. They collaborate with other companies every chance they get and are members of the Fishtown Area Business Association. They are also active participants in the Fishtown Neighbors Association and New Kensington Community Development Corporation. Catherine states, “It is very important to us that Fishtown maintain the strong and supportive family-like feel that the neighborhood has had for many generations past.” They also make charitable donations and cross-promote other organizations on social media as often as possible. We love when businesses take responsibility for the growth of their community.

In the future, Catherine and her staff want to hold workshops on refurbishing antique furniture and creating unique home decorations. They also intend to focus on keeping their inventory fresh with a constant supply of new items. Catherine invites anyone visiting or moving to Fishtown to stop in and say “hello.” You may just find the perfect piece for your home while you are there!

Written by Patrick Kaisinger (Mike McCann Team Blogger Extraordinaire)