Siler City’s Fragments expands with second store downtown

Posted 9/18/20

SILER CITY — Members of the community, investing in the community, to grow the community, all the while creating a unique experience.

That’s the model of Fragments, a co-operative store in …

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Siler City’s Fragments expands with second store downtown

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Posted

SILER CITY — Members of the community, investing in the community, to grow the community, all the while creating a unique experience.

That’s the model of Fragments, a co-operative store in downtown Siler City. And that model is paying off: the store opened its second downtown location, Fragments Too, on Aug. 29, the one-year anniversary of the opening of the first location.

The idea for Fragments — located at 210 N. Chatham Ave. — came from Linda Person, the owner of the building, and a group of friends.

“We were talking about it over the summer,” Person said. “Originally we were just going to do a short six-week pop up shop just to get rid of the stuff we had. Then more people came up with ideas, more things and ways to contribute. And it grew exponentially. So I thought, ‘OK, this is going to be more permanent than expected.’”

Siler City resident Frankie Hayes was one of the original participants.

“Linda came up with the concept, and I came up with 90% of the merchandise,” Hayes said.

Hayes had been selling antiques for quite some time at outlets in Raleigh. Growing tired of chasing sales so far away, Hayes jumped at the idea. Linda also reached out to her neighbor, Trudy Walters.

“I became involved with Fragments when Linda walked across the street and said, ‘Trudy, do you want to empty out your basement?’” Walters said. “I hesitated at first, then I thought, ‘This is great.’ I’m very, very interested in revitalizing downtown Siler City and I thought that this might be just a small way I could help with that.”

Since then, Fragments has grown to include new people, new merchandise and, with an unexpected boon during the coronavirus pandemic, the new store — Fragments Too, located at 143 N. Chatham Ave., the former home of the studio and gallery of artist Roger Person, Linda’s husband.

Fragments and Fragments Too are officially consignment stores, but Person describes the wares as “previously appreciated artwork, furniture, home décor and other miscellaneous treasures.”

Hayes calls it “a fantastic place of treasures.”

“It’s eclectic upscale resale at an affordable price,” Person said. “It’s full of good quality things that people can afford.”

More people were bought into the effort. Siler City jeweler Jean Watkins, Silk Hope interior designer Cory Lindley, retired educator Sherry Elmore of Siler City, Goldston Mayor Tim Cunnup and retired flight attendant Rebecca Burgess make up the majority of the team at Fragments/Fragments Too.

‘The hunt’

Cunnup joined the team with his wife Camille this past spring after the closure of his furniture store, H&B Furniture Legacy, in Siler City. Cunnup said furniture is in his blood. For Cunnup, who would simply order pieces from a manufacturer at H&B, he’s found new life in “the hunt.”

“We cater to more of a uniqueness than just your average used furniture store,” Cunnup said. “We go for items that are different, that have character. We are constantly going to estate sales and looking at the internet to find these pieces that fit into what we’re trying to do.”

Watkins enjoys the hunt as well and her husband, Bennie, helps her. Bennie purchased a van for the two to grab furniture and wares from estate sales and more to fill the two shops with unique items.

“My husband, he is major in helping us pick up things, lift things, go get things,” Watkins said. “We find them at odd places. Someone might call me and say, ‘I heard of an estate sale at the Governors Club,’ and we’ll go get quality goods at a good deal. And we choose carefully. We smell it and feel it so that we know that it would be good to go in someone’s home.”

Watkins also likes learning and sharing the stories that come with every piece they purchase for Fragments/Fragments Too. She told the story of a man who was nearly in tears as he sold his grandmother’s belongings at an estate sale. She learned the history of each piece and in the end, the man was grateful the pieces were going to someone who would appreciate them.

Quality goods, broad appeal

The stores are different, but still adhere to the same philosophy: quality goods with unique style and character that appeal to a broad array of people in a shop geared toward making customers feel at home and welcome.

The merchandise is constantly changing. Both stores are redesigned bi-weekly, a task primarily completed by Lindley, a designer, and Elmore and Watkins, so every trip to the stores brings something new. Watkins noted that the three of them, from different generations and backgrounds, working together to create new and intriguing store designs, adds to the diversity and appeal of the store — an appeal that Person and Hayes reiterated.

“We have different people who have different strong points,” Person said. “I think having a diverse group of people is important because everyone brings in their own perspectives and strong points. We are very lucky to have a very diverse group.”

“Every time I walk in there it’s fresh,” Hayes said. “It’s given me so many ideas of how to put things together just going in there. It was a surprise and just great because when we first started we were just working with a base of friends.”

“My idea of what goes in a home is different then some of the others,” Watkins said. “It’s really interesting to see how it turns out. We truly are a co-op in many ways. We are cooperative with each other and cooperative with our community.”

And that appeal has worked, even during COVID-19. Elmore worked to get Fragments online and since then, the business has grown. They greet visitors not only from Siler City and Chatham County, but from around the state and around the country. Even with it’s broad reach, success and the enjoyment they receive for the work itself , there is still a greater goal — supporting the revitalization of Siler City.

Keeping it local

What started as an idea to get rid of extra stuff has turned into something so much more.

“Part of what we’re doing is obviously to try to promote downtown Siler City and the revitalization of merchants downtown,” Cunnup said. “That seems to be important to everybody that’s involved in this.”

Each person involved in Fragments/Fragments Too voiced a goal to support the town they love, their fellow merchants and the Chatham County community as a whole. Linda Person noted that fellow merchants direct visitors to their shops and they do likewise, making the effort even more collaborative. She’s has even been approached by others in the shop who were interested in opening up other types of retail shops and restaurants in the area.

And that is the goal.

“I want to help Siler City,” Watkins said. “I love our old buildings. I love our town. We’re going to disappear if people don’t start doing something. I hope what will evolve out of this is that Siler City, Goldston, Bennett, Pittsboro, that we will truly become Chatham County and become more united and be more focused on what kind of community we can be together,” Watkins said. “It all fell into place and I hope it continues. Our community is the reason for our success.”

Fragments

210 N. Chatham Ave., Siler City

Fragments Too

143 N. Chatham Ave., Siler City

Hours

Thursdays and Fridays: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Anytime by appointment

Online at facebook.com/FragmentsDecor

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