It was a busy day on Main Street in on Tuesday. Shoppers came in and out of the new , some already familiar faces to owner Peter Gowran.
In the morning, Gowran rang up a jewelry box for one regular customer, before helping another carry out an antique buffet.
He offered a bowl of candy on the desk to a young girl, as her mom picked up an end table. When the customer left she called out, “We’ll be back soon!”
Gowran, of Defiance, has a variety of interests—from soccer, to cars, to history and woodwork. He said he first discovered his love for woodwork in his native home of Scotland, while working as a shipbuilder and cabinet maker in the 1970s.
When he moved to the United States in 1974, he settled in the St. Louis-area working a variety of jobs including, cabinet maker, car sales and even in the layout department for revamping facilities in McDonald Douglas.
In the early 1980s, he opened a shop in St. Louis called Retreads, where he sold furniture he made from unwanted wood and glass in old houses.
He describes the process as “refurbishing the wood and bringing it back to life.”
After five years of making furniture, Gowran says the business grew “overwhelmingly large" and his popularity spread across the country as he soon had calls coming in from all over asking if he could come tear down a barn or look through a basement for materials to build his custom-made furnishings.
But Gowran has recently returned to his roots, opening Main Street Marketplace in O’Fallon with his wife Sandra.
“I wanted to go back to my first love, and my first love is working with wood and old pieces of furniture,” Gowran said on Tuesday afternoon, in between checking out customers and helping them load their cars.
Main Street Marketplace, located at 220 South Main St., opened the first week of July.
The 10,000-square-foot shop is filled with everything from jewelry, clocks, refurbished furniture, doll clothes, decorative antique phones and sewing machines.
Some pieces date back to the late 1800s or early 1900s.
In addition to the antiques, refurbished pieces and other odds and ends, local artists also have works for sale, including Dawn Hoeber, who paints and gives new life to old furniture.
One of Gowran’s favorite items he’s come across in the shop, is a collection of Christmas cards and letters from a World War II soldier, sent to New Melle, in St. Charles County.
He said he also likes the retro paintings done by a young local artist and the furniture brought back to life with chalk paint.
Main Street Marketplace has a little something for everyone—from kids to grandmas, Gowran said.
“We tried to bring vendors in that have a variety of options and features,” he added.
Main Street Marketplace features goods from 40 vendors and now the owners only have room for consignment.
Customers will find plenty of space to roam around and shop at the market.
“When we first opened, I was looking for a venue that we could open and subdivide and rent small places for artists and collectors to bring products,” Gowran said.
He came up with idea of utilizing pallets to divide shop.
“My theory is to think green,” he added.
Gowran is also building a line of furniture out of recycled wood and pallets that he plans to sell at the shop. Right now, he’s working on coffee tables, exterior patio tables, some kitchen and decorative signs. He said he plans to move his workshop from his house to the store soon.
Gowran said so far Main Street Marketplace has received nothing but positive feedback, as people spread the word to their friends and neighbors.
“I think in the day’s economy, people are struggling a bit financially and people would rather find that unique piece that cost them a third of what it would cost in a retail store,” he said. “This is a way for them to save money as far as buying gifts and stuff for their own house.”
Main Street Marketplace is now open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday-Saturday and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Gowran said he is planning a grand opening event with a ribbon cutting in September. O’Fallon Patch will keep you posted on the date and details.
You can follow Main Street Marketplace on Facebook.