- Associated Press - Monday, January 20, 2014

TWELVE MILE, Ind. (AP) - A furniture and antique shop run by a Twelve Mile couple is the third new business in less than a year to open in the tiny unincorporated town.

Upcycling Yesterday, owned and operated by Terry and Patty Dillman, became the third new business to open in 2013 in the town, where the population is estimated to be somewhere around 300. Not only that, all three businesses opened in the same two-story brick building - one which, just a few years ago, had sat abandoned, its roof falling in.

Now in its fourth month, the shop keeps its owners busy on weekends - the only time it’s officially open, and the time the Dillmans devote to shopping at auctions and wholesale markets to stock it.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Patty Dillman told the Pharos-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1cMv1uj ).

The couple opened the store on the last weekend of September and has since opened it every Friday and Saturday. They make the rounds at auctions on Sundays and some evenings.

Upcycling Yesterday fills about 1,600 square feet of storefront, or about half of a story in the building now owned by John “Doc” and Gail Byrum. Another 1,600 square feet of the town’s former fire station, which the Dillmans purchased last May, has become the warehouse for furniture they’ve taken home from an auction but have not yet made ready for sale.

Between the two of them, they rehab some furnishings and refinish others before putting them into the shop, where more decorative household items - glass and ceramic dishes, several paintings, a number of lamps - accent the large pieces, like china cabinets and hutches. A few pieces of new jewelry and several candles are neatly placed among the resale items, too.

The Dillmans, still a few years away from retirement, say they’ve been browsing auctions together ever since they met. And in the five years they’ve been married, they said, they talked about opening their own business, but didn’t consider it seriously until watching the two-story building undergo a transformation.

The Byrums purchased the building at a county commissioner’s sale in 2011 and mused whether to demolish it. “It was becoming a nasty eyesore in town,” John Byrum explained.

After estimates came in from demolition companies, they decided to gut and redo it instead. Over the course of two years, they refinished the upstairs flooring and poured a new concrete floor for the first story, as well as rewiring the building and installing new plumbing and redoing all the walls and ceilings.

Gail Byrum recalled pulling plaster off of the bricks on the inside of the building’s east wall, then spritzing the bricks with water “until they dripped” every day until they absorbed the moisture and turned from a dismal gray back to their brick-like dark orange color.

The bricks, Gail Byrum said, had been formed at a brickworks across the street. “That was the reason for baring the brick,” she said. “We wanted to show some of the history of Twelve Mile.”

And a few other Twelve Mile residents expressed interest in opening their own businesses in the slowly changing space.

Last spring, the coffee shop Small Town Brew opened on the building’s first floor, where it’s now a hub of fellowship for the town’s residents and farmers around. Around the same time, Kathy Buczkowski opened Kathy’s Kaptured Moments, a retreat center with a craft focus, on the second floor.

“It’s been very exciting to see the building occupied and seeing other people taking an interest in trying their hand at a small business,” Gail Byrum said.

But the biggest goal the Dillmans, the Byrums and others share is furthering locals’ revitalization efforts.

“We heard people talk about bringing Twelve Mile back,” Patty Dillman said.

“So I guess that’s what brought us here,” Terry chimed in.

“Our contribution,” Patty finished.

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com

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