The owner of the whimsical little market down on Callow Avenue just wanted to brighten up the area she’s come to know and love.
One peek inside Picket Fence Market, and anyone with a sense of style can understand why it’s referred to as the “happy place.”
Punches of bright blues, dandelion yellows and white-washed vintage pieces inside a building that looks as though it could also be considered vintage, contribute to a rainbow of colors that decorate the walls and floors of the market.
Annie Gambardella opened the downtown Bremerton vintage market in August in hopes of bringing craft lovers and vintage collectors out of the woodworks.
“My style is kinda anything that would go in a house with a picket fence,” she said, which accounts for how she came up with the market’s name.
That style includes everything from old Bingo cards to vintage robin’s egg blue couches. One quick glance around the large open-air room and a good thrifter can find old coke bottles, vintage pillowcase clothing and old bed frames with a sign warning that sitting on the bed will “not end well.”
A good chunk of the store’s items are from vendors, who get to keep 75 percent of the item’s selling price.
All vendors set their own prices, and there is no booth fee because everything is mixed in together.
“I think the nice thing about here is we mix the different vendors instead of (having) booths. We’re truly a green business,” said Heather Imlay, a Picket Fence Market vendor. “A lot of these things I’ve pulled from dumpsters. I’ve saved them from the junk yard.”
Imlay and Gambardella are best friends who have know each other since they were kindergarten students. Gambardella enlisted Imlay’s help due to her past experience in retail and design.
Imlay designs the store vignettes and also restores furniture to sell in the market. The vendor said she gets many of her ideas from designer blogs, magazines and watches trends in the market to figure out what’s in and what’s not. The store works with buyers from Seattle who often come over to Bremerton to do their vintage and antique shopping, which is worth it because so many vintage stores have popped up in the area, Imlay said.
“So far, we’ve had a ball. We’re looking forward to meeting customers,” said Imlay. “We just want it to be a happy and inviting place … this is the happiest place on earth. Forget Disneyland; this is it.”
Many times, the two learn information from their customers that they might not have otherwise known about their products. Elderly residents have come in to peruse the items and end up telling the history of the piece being sold. Other customers come in looking for something in particular, like Bremerton resident LaJune Gray, who lives right up the hill from the shop.
Gray drove past the store several times before she finally had an opportunity to stop in. She and her husband have an older house that lends itself well to the items she found inside Picket Fence Market, she said.
“I decorate with it,” Gray said of the vintage items. “I have a 40s house. We’re restoring it to how it was so we’re doing it that way.”
Gray found an antique ice cream maker to take home with her during the store’s grand opening on Sunday.
“I love it,” she said of the vintage items. “I don’t have a lot, but I love the vintage stuff.”
It doesn’t surprise Gambardella that she ended up in Bremerton with her own shop. Gambardella’s grandfather once owned an auto parts store up the road, and her family resides in Bremerton. She wanted to see the neighborhood brought back up instead of sinking with its boarded up windows and less-than-desirable other area businesses.
“It was really important for me to be in this neighborhood,” she said. “For us, all the stars had to line up.”
Working with Imlay also was a natural fit she knew would work well. As children, the two had dolls and dollhouses, she said.
“We didn’t care about the dolls,” said Gambardella. “But we cared where the furniture went.”
In addition to vintage items, the market also offers brand new items, like linens, fabric and table cloths. Paint to restore furniture to a chic, vintage look is also for sale.
Another aspect that makes the market unique is the classes Gambardella is offering to her customers. She plans to teach classes for painting and making jewelry. The owner will offer Pinterest craft nights as well, which allows customers to bring in any Pinterest project they are working on to do in a group setting.
Today, the store will host its first “Picket Fence Crafting Soiree” at 6 p.m. in the store loft. The cost is $10, and crafters are asked to bring an appetizer to share and a beverage. Attendees may bring their own Pinterest project or craft to work on with fellow crafters. Sign up by calling 360-627-8607 or by emailing email@example.com. The store is located at 312 N. Callow Ave. in Bremerton.