The new retail outlet features artistically eclectic products
Home décor trendsthis season are minimalistic, explains Bob Fortin of Fortin Ironworks Vintage Market. “The homeowner is looking for fewer pieces of furniture in their home. But they want each piece to be a high quality, unique conversation piece.”
Fortin knows the business of unique décor very well. The history of his family's business, Fortin Ironworks, has been evolving for more than 70 years with the launch of its most recent and on-trend venture, Fortin Ironworks Vintage Market, a year ago. To understand the story of the Vintage Market, however, one must appreciate the evolution of this landmark, family-based company.
After serving in the U.S. Army as a railroad welder in World War II, Joe Fortin and his wife, Josephine, founded Fortin Ironworks in 1946 in the garage of their West Third Avenue home in Grandview. There, the couple grew their business and their family of seven children on the same site. Eventually they replaced their garage with a small welding shop.
In 1988, in need of more space to expand the business, the seven Fortin children purchased the historic Exact Weight Scale/Columbus Hardware building at 944 W. Fifth Ave. with a promise to the previous owner that the building would remain intact.
In 2017, the retail space transformed again with the goal of creating a store that would honor its founders, Joe and Josephine, in addition to showcasing Fortin's current, talented craftsmen and the past generations of people in the ironwork trade.
Fortin Ironworks Vintage Market opened its doors last June. Every item in the store is hand-selected and merchandised by managers Bob Fortin and his wife, Jane. While many of the items are repurposed or built onsite by artisans that Fortin Ironworks employs, the Fortins mix in a variety of other vintage items and fine modern pieces.
“Finding, creating, repurposing and merchandising unique, high quality products is a 24-7-365 process,” notes Bob. “Most of the adventure in finding the products and the magic in setting up the unique displays must happen after the Vintage Market's hours of operation.”