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    Saturday, February 04, 2023

    Amish furniture store opens in Olde Mistick Village

    Candy Gendreau of Coventry looks around while shopping at The Rusty Relic, an antiques and primitives store, Friday, Dec, 2, 2022, located at Olde Mistick Village in Mystic. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Mystic ― When the pandemic eased, The Rusty Relic’s sales took off.

    Owner Jason Beausoleil in his store The Rusty Relic, an antiques and primitives store, Friday, Dec, 2, 2022, located at Olde Mistick Village in Mystic. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Bob Prenda of West Greenwich, R.I. walks out of The Rusty Relic, an antiques and primitives store, Friday, Dec, 2, 2022, with two of his four stools he purchased in the shop located at Olde Mistick Village in Mystic. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Some of the furniture on display for sale at The Rusty Relic, an antiques and primitives store, Friday, Dec, 2, 2022, located at Olde Mistick Village in Mystic. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Suddenly, more people than ever wanted furniture made in America, including the Woodstock, Conn., store’s specialty: Amish furniture.

    “Last year was our best year ever,” Jason Beausoleil, the Relic’s co-owner, said Friday in an interview. “Business tripled in Woodstock.”

    Seeking to capitalize, Beausoleil and his wife, Jamie, opened another Relic outlet last month in Olde Mistick Village, the outdoor shopping mall off Exit 90 of Interstate 95. Just about everything in the 1,500-square-foot store is made by the Amish, the religious group that settled in parts of Canada and the United States in the 18th century.

    Like the sect’s members, the hardwood furniture they build is plain and sturdy.

    Beausoleil travels weekly to Lancaster County, Pa., to pick up furniture from more than a half-dozen Amish vendors he’s gotten to know over the years. Each time, he brings back about a hundred pieces ― tables, chairs, hutches, desks and kitchen islands.

    The furniture’s fully assembled, which customers appreciate, Beausoleil said, and while 90% of the Relic’s business is “cash and carry,” he’s willing to deliver furniture within a 500-mile radius.

    The Beausoleils, both of whom are 46, started with a small gift shop in Coventry about seven years ago, and added antiques and furniture there and at a previous location in Woodstock before consolidating operations at their existing Woodstock store ― a 6,500-square-foot barn ― on Route 169.

    Recently, they bought a house in Woodstock. Their 19-year-old son Tommy and 17-year-old daughter Madison work with them.

    Since the Relic opened Nov. 25 in Olde Mistick Village, it’s attracted mostly repeat customers familiar with the Woodstock store, Beausoleil said.

    “We saw online that they opened a store here,” said Barbara Fuller, an Oakdale woman who came in Friday with Carol Socha, also of Oakdale. “We’re thrilled. We had to drive an hour to Woodstock.”

    Socha said no other furniture store in the area offers the “country, primitive” style of furniture she favors. “You can’t find it anywhere,” she said.

    A Scituate, R.I., couple, Greg and Barbara Thornlimb, entered the store out of curiosity, eager to check out the latest tenant at Olde Mistick Village, which Greg said they visit three or four times a year.

    “I live in a log house,” he said. “Some of this stuff would be perfect.”

    Chris Regan, Olde Mistick Village’s property manager, said the Relic broadens the mall’s mix. None of the other tenants sells furniture.

    “They’re going to get more foot traffic here (than in Woodstock),” he said.

    The Relic took over space last occupied by ABC PhotoLab, which left the mall prior to the pandemic, according to Regan. The new store is located between Make Your Mark Customizations and a RE/MAX Coast and Country real estate office. It’s behind Mystic Luxury Cinemas.

    “Traffic in Mystic slows in February, which is when things get busy in Woodstock,” Beausoleil said. “It’s slow there in June and July, when this place gets busy. That’s what I’m planning on.”

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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