PHOTO: Judy Donovan (left) and Tammy Kramer, owners of Born in a Barn, show off their new home in Scotch Grove. They rent one of the historic Balster buildings. Both gals owned and operated antique and retail shops in Cascade before starting Born in a Barn. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
PHOTO: Born in a Barn now has a new home in Scotch Grove. Their open house takes place this weekend, April 12-14.
By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
The gals of Born in a Barn are starting their third year off on a good note and at a new location. Judy Donovan and Tammy Kramer have been busy organizing merchandise and getting everything ready to open this coming weekend in Scotch Grove.
“Everything is going well,” noted Kramer. While Born in a Barn is only held three weekends a year, sales are always quite good. “We grew 43 percent between our first and second years. It’s been phenomenal!”
Both Kramer and Donovan said their customers travel from all over the state and Midwest to attend their open house weekends. “People travel from all over to connect with us,” said Donovan.
“We add a hundred new names to our mailing database each time,” said Kramer. They send out over 3,000 mailings and over 1,000 e-mails to customers.
Prior to moving into one of the historical Balster buildings located in Scotch Grove, Born in a Barn was located on the Doug Monk property outside of Monticello.
“We needed something air tight,” explained Kramer about their decision to go from the Monks’ barn to Scotch Grove. Kramer said they would work long hours at the Monks’, preparing for the weekends. “We’d be there till 2 a.m. sometimes.”
Donovan and Kramer said the Monks were very accommodating in allowing them to utilize their renovated barn. They said the atmosphere worked well with their business name as well.
Now relocated in Scotch Grove, they have room to grow and there is plenty of parking areas, too.
“We never knew this building was available,” said Donovan. Born in a Barn rents the building from Max Dirks, who purchased the property at the Balster auction in 2011.
A lot of work was done to the building before Born in a Barn could open for business this coming weekend. The gals said Dirks and his sons did a lot of the labor themselves. Large bins had to be taken out, new wiring was installed, parts of the wooden floor had to be fixed where it caved in and just a lot of general maintenance. One nice addition was a front porch on the building, which adds to the business’s ambiance.
“There’s less dust control here,” remarked Kramer.
The size of the building is pretty much the same as before, with two levels to explore.
“This place has its own unique flavor,” said Donovan. “It has that warehouse feel to it.”
“We hope to breath some new life into the town,” said Kramer.
In describing their merchandise, Kramer said Born in a Barn gives people a “different experience” when shopping.
“We have antiques, uniques and home décor,” she said.
Everything is so unique because both Kramer and Donovan travel all over the country to find the right pieces to offer their customers.
“We find one-of-a-kind, rare items,” she said.
Donovan added, “We create an experience for you here.”
While out on the road, Kramer said her dad assists with his 24-foot trailer, perfect for loading their treasures into and hauling across the country.
Some of their many items featured at the open house this weekend include spring décor, inspirational pieces, garden-themed items and so much more!
“We have more inventory than ever before,” boasted Donovan. “We have everything from old to new. It’s a good variety for everyone.”
With so much to sell, the gals said they never worry about storing items after the open house. They said most of their inventory sells in just three days.
With a tremendous following online and through their travels, Born in a Barn attracts so many because of their unique offerings.
“It’s a feast for your eyes,” Kramer said.
Donovan said now that they do not work full-time in Cascade, they have time to travel and find items at sales and auctions.
“We might be gone for 5 or 6 days at a time,” Donovan said. “We have flexible schedules.”
When heading to Scotch Grove, Kramer said look for the white building with a flag painted on the outside, facing Highway 38. Look for signs. Their open house takes place this weekend, April 12-14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be additional vendors at the open house selling jewelry, baked goods, garden art, furniture and more.
“People make a weekend trip out of coming here,” said Kramer. “They spend money locally and eat at local restaurants.”
PHOTO: Offering everything from antiques to furniture and unique home décor items, Born in a Barn has something for everyone. Here, their garden room is full of specialized items such as silk flowers, candleholders, woven baskets and more.