Rhonda Elm has been antiquing for years. What began as a hobby eventually turned into a moneymaking opportunity. For the last few years, Elm had been renting space in area antique stores to sell some of her vintage finds while dreaming of having a shop of her own.
In the meantime, Elm’s daughter, Tana Carte, was inspired by her mother’s love of old things to select a vintage theme for her wedding. Together, mother and daughter set out to find items such as antique frames, cut glass vases and tea cups to create table decorations.
The hunt through flea markets and estate sales was challenging.
“We were spending every weekend finding the items we needed,” Carte said. “It took a full year.”
“It took a lot of time and gas,” Elm added. “We could find maybe three of something at any one place, but not 30.”
“We kept saying, why is there no vintage rental place for small decorative items,” Carte said.
Their thoughts of opening such a business got pushed to the side as they focused on the upcoming wedding. A year and a half later, their idea came to fruition.
“It happened completely by accident,” Elm said. “I drove by the building and saw a ‘for rent’ sign. We had to find a small space, and this was perfect.”
The space, located just off Seventh Avenue in downtown Marion, needed paint and new carpet. But in less than three weeks, on Nov. 18, Edge Vintage opened for business.
“That’s kind of how we roll,” Carte said.
While approximately 90 percent of the store’s inventory is for sale, a number of items are set aside for customers to rent for weddings, baby showers, and other special events.
“There are 10 or 11 other antique shops in Marion,” Elm said. “We knew if we were going to be successful, we had to do something different.”
Rental items range from large pieces such as a dark blue velvet Victorian settee and antique serving buffet to smaller items such as silver teapots, blue Mason jars, and gold mirror vanity trays. Other distinctive pieces include a Victorian doll buggy, vintage cameras and typewriters, and a collection of wood crates.
“We have everything from rusty to glam,” Elm said.
Elm said that vintage rental is popular on the coasts but is a relatively new concept in the Midwest.
“People need to understand we are not a big box rental,” she said. “This isn’t the place to get tables, chairs, or linens. You come here to get that unique piece no one else has.”
AT A GLANCE
Owners: Rhonda Elm and Tana Carte
Business: Edge Vintage
Address: 781 13th St., Marion
Phone: (319) 270-7397