For the love of treasures, carving an upcycling niche in Williams Lake

Ever since Sheri and Shane Marsh opened Fox Mountain Urban Upcycle quietly in December they have been busy and enjoying working with customers. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Sheri and Shane Marsh purchased the building at 1160 Dixon Road. They live upstairs and have their shop - Fox Mountain Urban Upcycle on the main floor. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Fox Mountain Urban Upcycle features unique items, new items, antiques, secondhand treasures and rustic, shabby chic and industrial supplies for customers wanting to fix up items at home. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Owners of a unique business in Williams Lake love taking something old or discarded, fixing it up or making something new.

“We hit 50 and decided we wanted to do something we are passionate about,” said Sheri Marsh who along with her husband Shane opened Fox Mountain Urban Upcycle last December. “Sometimes it means leaving something in its natural state and showing what a great piece it is or it’s about using chalk paints or refurbishing things.”

Shane is the fixer-upper who has the patience and the eye to fix drawers, wire lamps and make everything work, Sheri said.

Her forté is doing the design work and seeing how something will look good together.

“Between the two of us we balance out.”

Shane has taken china cabinets and made them into bookcases, used old silver bowls and candle holders to make hanging lamps, or made wind chimes and mobiles out of bits and bobs.

They love to refurbish dressers, she added.

“They are made of solid wood that is going to last a lifetime and sometimes people throw them away because they don’t like the look of it anymore or there’s a chip, a drawer doesn’t work or it’s missing a leg. That’s right up our alley. We’ll add legs, we might take three dressers to make one good one.”

To find items they go to estate sales in Prince George and the Lower Mainland.

“We were going to auctions until COVID came. We have some friends in Vancouver that let us know when there is an estate sale — we try to go down every three weeks and pick up new things to keep it interesting and moving.”

Jumping in with both feet, they purchased the building, located along Highway 97 in Williams Lake, and live on the second floor.

“We want to eventually repaint it and jazz it up. I think it can be a stunning building,” Sheri said, adding living and working there makes for the best commute ever.

So far people have told them it has been an auction house, boarding house, second hand store and a costume store most recently. They would love to know the history and hope someone might have some photographs of the site from the past.

Her home decor is a little more ‘farmer bohemian,’ she said, adding she loves the feel of old pieces because they have so much history.

“When I look at an old buffet I wonder what the woman who first got this thought, or the dinners she must have made or served.”

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Running the business is also about encouraging customers to do their own refurbishing and to that end, the store stocks chalk paints, different types of waxes, transfer stencils and they will be bringing in some different hardware items in the future.

“Chalk paint can de-stress things to make them look old or antique-like or if you want to repaint an old dresser or end table, chalk paint adheres really well. It leaves a nice velvety finish,” Sheri said.

Shane is also a mechanic and Sheri is a nurse. While he likes to work quietly behind the scenes, she’s the one greeting the public mostly.

Mindful of their location at the base of Fox Mountain, they placed a bench outside for the mountain bikers hitting nearby trails and have some cold drinks and treats for sale.

Prior to moving back to Williams Lake where they have children and grandchildren, they were living in Kamloops for 10 years and Quesnel for the last three years.

Their grandchildren come hang out in the store, and help dust and do other things, Sheri said.

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