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BRISTOL -- Three female entrepreneurs have brought old buildings back to life in Bristol, making it a new place to stop and shop.
"We want to put Bristol back on the map," said Tracy Camille Lane, co-owner of Camille's of Bristol, one of the newer businesses to the town's landscape. "You can walk right down the street and go from one shop to the next."
"We want to have enough here to make it worth it for people to travel a little ways to shop here," said Bonnie Barrett, who opened Stone Soup Emporium two months ago. "We are hoping to get bus tours to come through here this summer, and so far it's looking good for that."
CAMILLE'S OF BRISTOL
The first to open was Camille's of Bristol, a gift and floral shop featuring vintage heirlooms. Lane and business partner Cindy Mannia opened the shop May 1 at 502 E. Vistula.
The house, built in 1851, was owned by the Yoders and the Rogers family.
"Tracy had a vision as soon as we walked in," said Mannia. "She could see where the service counter would be and that the back porch area would be ideal for a floral cooler. Tracy worked at Sautter's for more than 20 years, and I was in rentals. I said to her, 'What if I get the house, and you do the business?'"
The property had been vacant for about a year when Lane and Mannia looked at it.
The renovation of the 3,200-square-foot house took 2,000 man hours. It needed new electrical and plumbing and about 50 window panes.
"When we started working on the outside, people would drive by and yell things like, 'You're doing an awesome job,'" said Mannia.
"Once we started, things kind of snowballed," said Amy Presswood with Camille's. "Others looked at what we did and said, 'The more things for people to come to Bristol for, the better.'"
The Rivertown Emporium opened on Dec. 4. Ann Andre bought Dr. Horswell's office at 400 W. Vistula, which had been vacant since 1999. The 1,400-square-foot building was built in 1940.
"I've been complaining for six years that there is no retail in Bristol," said Andre, who also owns the Murphy Guest House Bed and Breakfast in Bristol. "I've always wanted to have a coffee shop, and this building was available."
The building is nostalgic for people who grew up in Bristol and came to see Dr. Horswell and Dr. Neidballa.
The Bristol Perks Coffee House is in what was the doctor's office front reception area. It features teas, specialty drinks, rolls from Rise and Roll Bakery, desserts and pastries.
Bristol Therapeutic Massage is in what was the X-ray room. The Book Nook is in Dr. Horswell's old library.
Simply Provence, featuring French Country items, occupies another room. Other offerings include Birdsong Candles, antiques and alpaca yarn.
"It's neat to see the things that could happen in Bristol start to happen," said Andre, "to see these old buildings come to life. And the smiles on people's faces, they are so happy to see these buildings restored and to have things happening in Bristol."
STONE SOUP EMPORIUM
The Stone Soup Emporium opened Nov. 26 at 110 E. Vistula in the old King's Grocery Store building. Barrett has filled the 10,000-square-foot building with antiques, home décor, Bonnie and Clyde's Soda Fountain, artists working on-site, art work, tattoos, jewelry, boutique items and soon, toys and art lessons.
The building was constructed in 1820 and was the H.B. App General Store. Owners Mike and Jill Stoll once operated their business, Record/Play Tek Inc., from the building.
It was vacant for about six years before Mike Stoll offered Barrett a one-year free lease in exchange for renovating the building.
"Mike approached me with the idea, and I knew I had the option to open a retail business through K&K, the company I design for," said Barrett. Barrett paints wooden cutouts. Her Boardwalk Originals are sold all over the country.
"People jumped on board and were willing to help. It's been a group effort. I'm in awe, because we'd think of something like, 'Gee, it'd be neat to have a soda fountain in here,' and a few days later somebody walked in that had one. Things just came together," said Barrett.