By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
When it comes to work, financial gain may help pay the bills, but often the biggest ‘dividend’ is truly loving what you do. Such is the case for Delaina Kucish, who is attached to not just one job, but three!
Delaina is a financial advisor with the Edward Jones investment group. She also owns the UPS store in Fairmont. And for some reason that she can’t fully explain, she also finds herself owning Our Country Corner, which opened in July of 2013 and is also located in Fairmont.
“I had always admired this quaint old building on Fairmont Avenue and learned that it was going to be up for sale on the courthouse steps,” she explained. “I was interested to see who bought it so I went to the sale. The building’s owner was there and said it was a ‘rock solid’ structure. There weren’t many people there … and sight unseen, I bid on it and ended up buying it!”
She had it cleaned and decided it had potential. A lover of country things, she thought it would be a great space to showcase those kinds of items. A friend wrote a grant for Historical Preservation and that came through as well, so she had the brick facade repointed and a few similar things done, but made no other major changes. Then came the fun part – filling it with unique treasures!
“I started making soy candles,” she added. “This was something I always wanted to do so I learned how mostly through trial and error until I got it right. And I kept buying inventory until I had two floors of displayed merchandise in this four-story building!”
At Our Country Corner, visitors find lots of things. Delaina wanted to make sure she had a mix of items that would separate her from every other country shop. Another one of her secrets is to often buy from vendors who are selling items that are being discontinued. She gets bargain pricing and passes them on to her customers.
“For example,” she explained, “I buy lots of quilts with matching curtains and accessories. I’ve found that manufacturers switch out their patterns and fabrics quite often, and when they do, I pick those up. I also go to trade shows to look for disinctive vendors and choose mostly American-made items.”
There is also some teamwork involved at Our Country Corner. She calls it “ours” because her husband is also a participant! Now retired, he is a Mister Fix-It and is accomplished at making any necessary repairs to old furniture items. He makes some things from scratch in his woodshop too, and she enjoys painting them and doing the finish work.
She explained, “He doesn’t like to reproduce things, so he’ll make one and then forget exactly how he did it, so his items are virtually one-of-a-kinds.”
Delaina says she is also very fortunate to have several special ladies who work for her at the store and love it as much as she does. And while she regrets that she doesn’t have more time to spend at Our Country Corner, she does make time to do the buying.
“It’s an ideal situation … I am the buyer. I will go on a shopping trip and find unique vendors, fill a box trailer and bring it all back to the shop. The ladies empty the trailer, inventory everything and have a good time displaying it. However, I do stop there in the evenings on my way home from my day job; it is sort of my sanctuary!” she stated.
What can you find at Our Country Corner? Currently there are about 15 Tiffany lamps on display! Along with that, there are country linens, curtains, table runners, jute rugs, hand-poured soy candles, an assortment of yarn for knitters, battery-operated candles, tart warmers, crocks, Billy Jacobs pictures, primitive item, quilts, baskets, ironware, wagons, berry garlands, stoneware, canisters, wall décor, old phonograph records, antiques, lots of florals, and the list continues. It is well worth the trip, she says, and very interesting just to look around!
Shoppers will also find a full line of Heritage paint that she says is a ‘bestseller’! The colors available are great for do-it-yourselfers who are interested in refinishing or refurbishing older furniture pieces. Our Country Corner also stocks cabinets and tables that are popular for repurposing.
One of the first statements made by purchasers at Our Country Corner is, “The merchandise is so reasonably priced!” Delaina says they are absolutely correct!
“I’ll be honest, if I had to cut out something I do and let money take a vote, this shop would be the first thing I’d have to omit! But it is the one I truly love; it is my obsessive passion. Even my home is filled with this kind of stuff … so thank goodness, the country style is very forgiving!” she said.
Our Country Corner owner Delaina Kucish was recently one of fourteen honorees recognized during the WV Small Business Administration’s ‘Small Business Week’. She was the recipient of the 2017 WV Encore Entrepreneur of the Year award. This award is given to someone in the 50-plus age category who turns their interests, hobbies or skills into a small business. She was nominated by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.
On a day when you just feel like looking at the “unique”, pay a visit to Our Country Corner in Fairmont. It is located at 225 Fairmont Avenue. Business hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Credit cards, checks and cash are accepted. On-street parking is available but parking in the rear of the store is coming as soon as the new bridge construction is complete.