By Sarah Naron
PALESTINE – Shopaholics of Palestine, rejoice! Downtown’s newest retail shop, Crimson Room Hidden Treasures, officially opened for business Saturday, Dec. 2 during the city’s annual Frost Fest.
“This is mine and my mom’s adventure,” owner Deonna Bynum explained. “I buy stuff that I like, that I would have in my house. It’s almost like I get to shop and not have to keep it,” “I take things home every now and then, but not very much. It’s fun; it’s like having fun shopping and then being able to put it out and play with it.”
The shop offers customers a multitude of unique items which can’t be easily found anywhere else.
“Here, we have one of everything. We have quite a few new things, too, because I do buy new stuff. But a lot of the stuff in here – if it’s here, it’s because we have one of it. I’m not gonna get another one, because I bought it at an estate sale or garage sale,” Bynum said.
Bynum explained how she began collecting inventory for the shop.
“I just started buying things at estate sales and online,” Bynum said.
Her ultimate goal is to help bring her mother into retirement through new business.
“If it could grow to sustain my mom, that’s all I want,” she said. “I would be eternally happy and grateful.”
Bynum said she tries to keep prices reasonsable.
“We’re not trying to get rich or anything like that. I buy stuff cheap, and we don’t jack up prices big time; we try and make it so that everybody else can get the stuff cheap, too,” Bynum said. “I look up things on eBay and stuff like that (and see) what it’s worth before I price it. And I usually will price it in here cheaper than what I could sell it on eBay for.”
The building the retail shop is housed in has been vacant for two years, owned by her brother, who operated a “mancave” out of it called Crimson Room.
“The name actually has been the Crimson Room since my brother opened it,” said Bynum when asked what inspired the moniker. “I actually came up with the name. He was just trying to come up with – I think it was because of the colors in the building. He wanted something to do with the red and all that – the colors he liked and the colors he was painting. And then, one day, I just came up with Crimson Room.
“And of course, it was already on the building, and signs are expensive,” laughed Bynum. “So, I wanted to use that and just kind of add onto it so that I didn’t have to change all that stuff.”
Prior to its grand opening, the shop received a great deal of positive attention through Facebook.
“Even the men that come in here are like, ‘Oh, my gosh,’” Bynum chuckled. “I’ll sell to females, and they’ll send their husbands to pick stuff up. Their husbands are like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what all you got in here?’ And they’ll be walking around and looking at stuff. Then, I’ll get messages back from their wives, ‘I have to come up there and look, because my husband said, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ when he got home, and if he said, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ then you must have some stuff in there!’”
Bynum also plans on using the shop as an opportunity to share her love for the art created by Olshevsky.
“I collect Olshevsky – he’s my favorite artist; I love his work. I would buy it really cheap – you know, people would have no idea what it was worth or that it was even an Olshevsky piece. I always swore that if I opened a shop, I’d have him in the shop,” she said.
Bynum has communicated with the artist over the years.
“I actually talk to him. I was emailing and asking about certain pieces on his website several years ago now, and I didn’t realize that every time you sent an email to his website, you were actually talking to him. He manages his own website – him and his brother. And one day, he answered me, and he signed the email ‘Bob.’ And we met.
Bynum said she would love to have him come to her shop.
“I don’t expect to sell probably any of his work in here, because it’s expensive, but if I can show it to people and just get them to appreciate it and look at it for what it is, then I’ve been successful. His is the type that you kind of have to have a passion for miniatures; a passion for what it actually takes for him to make it. They’re all limited edition and very rare. He’s just wonderful, and I love him,” Bynum said.
According to the artist, Bynum has the largest collection of signed work of anybody, Bynum divulged.
“Of course, that’s taken a long time and a lot of visits to his shows to get him to sign everything. He will only sign three items at any show he does, and he only does a couple shows a year now. He did a whole miniature Disneyland. I got all of my Disneyland pieces signed, finally,” Bynum said.
Many of his pieces she got at an auction.
“The person that used to have the largest collection – they put it up for auction. They were going to make a museum, and the person that had all the pieces to make the museum passed away, and then, the curator passed away. My brother said I should put all my pieces in the museum, but – not happening.”
Bynum hopes to offer unique hours of operation to allow as many customers as possible plenty of opportunities to drop in and check out what she has to offer.
“We plan on being open 11-7,” said Bynum. “I was a nurse forever. Nothing drives me more insane than all these shops being open from 9-5. People work ‘till 5. So, if you were one of those people that worked, you know, you can’t get off and go shop at all the cool shops downtown.”
Bynum currently anticipates having the shop open seven days per week.
Crimson Room Hidden Treasures is located at 206 W. Oak St. in Palestine.