On her business’ website, Barb Hochstetler describes her shops, Sisters’ Garden & Bloom — two neighboring farmhouses on Highway 1 SW near rural Kalona — as quirky, retro and upscale.
They certainly are jam packed.
“There’s a mix of old stuff and new products. It’s an ever-changing inventory,” Hochstetler explained. “We like to say we have an urban flair with country on all four sides.”
When Hochstetler and her husband, Brent, purchased the property 20 years ago, she recalled, “This place was a disaster. It had no furnace or running water.
“I would have never thought this would transpire.”
Sisters’ Garden — the shop that calls the original farmhouse home — opened in 1994 with only three rooms. The upstairs and the so-called garden room were opened later.
Bloom, the second shop, opened in 1999.
“We actually built that house, in place of a fallen barn, but tried to make it look old.” Hochstetler said. “You’ll find one-of-a-kind pieces in both stores.
“It’s resurging, the whole re-purposing movement,” she noted. “We want people to come here and get ideas and inspiration.”
It helps that retail chains such as Pottery Barn and Anthropologie are featuring vintage looks in their catalogs, she added.
She named her shop Sisters’ Garden in honor of the two sisters from whom the Hochstetlers bought the property. One sister lived in the home until she died, at the age of 95. The other sister—who lived to be 101—had moved to New York. “She was the funky progressive one,” Hochstetler says.
“She loved what we were doing here. This place is named for them. It was a blessing and opportunity to get this location.”
Like the shops, the idea of sisterhood has grown over the years.
“My sisters have helped, and it became bigger than the sisters we named this for,” Hochstetler said. “This is a combination of family and fun.
“We have a handful of people that hunt and gather stuff for us.”
But searching for treasures to sell at Sisters’ and Bloom is of major interest to Hochstetler and her husband, who do estate cleaning work and love traveling to flea markets in surrounding states.
These days Hochstetler is planning the annual flea market-style fall open house, set for Sept. 21 and 22.
Know a company or a manager that’s been in business for at least a year that should be considered for “My Biz”? Contact business editor Michael Chevy Castranova at firstname.lastname@example.org.