by Dana Sleger
A new shopping venue in D’Iberville is quickly gaining traction among those who have a penchant for nostalgic things. One might even say it’s a collector’s paradise because of the eclectic range of items available from times past.
What’s Not To Love opened in April right across from the Grand Theatre, and this “vintage, antique and re-imagined store” started out as a personal quest by owners Kenneth and Rosalyn Fitzpatrick to preserve antique and collectible items that tell a story.
While slowly pacing through the aisles in a very calming atmosphere, it’s not hard to imagine who brought the “Welcome Back, Kotter” tin lunchbox to school, or who wore the stunning and very rare Japanese wedding gown/kimono, or who typed a tale on the old typewriter that was found in a barn?
Piece after piece, story after story fills this gem of a place that offers a unique mix of items from vintage, antique and collectables to re-upholstered/re-imagined furniture.
“The items that customers comment on the most is our Tiger Oak Column dresser with swivel mirror, the rustic antique washer/wringer, the needle point chairs, the unique apothecary desk and the stereoscope depth perception view finder with rare cards used for qualifying aviators for pilot training,” Kenneth says. “We update items in the store at least weekly, or as soon as an item sells, we will pull from back inventory or we’re back on the hunt for that next hidden treasure. Our taste is much like how we are — open and accepting to the differences in the world and appreciating the beauty in most everything.”
Annie Simon is a regular customer, but the first time she walked into What’s Not To Love, she was overwhelmed by the feeling she had just stepped back in time.
“The owner was so welcoming and eager to share a story behind each unique piece in his store that caught my eye,” Simon says. “He is a great conversationalist and also didn’t hesitate to let me know that he is willing to negotiate the prices on many of the items if need be. The name of his store is a perfect description of what you can expect during your visit! I immediately wanted to tell all of my family members about this store so they could revel in the nostalgia as I did.”
Bringing the idea for What’s Not To Love into fruition took some time. When Kenneth and Rosalyn both retired from the Army after serving a combined total of more than 43 years, they decided to make D’Iberville their home. After experiencing Hurricane Katrina and seeing the aftermath of devastation from the storm, the couple was so inspired by how the community and community leaders worked tirelessly to bring the Gulf Coast back to its former glory. Kenneth and Rosalyn wanted to help the Gulf Coast bounce back, but didn’t know how.
A gathering of family and friends at their home changed all that.
“One day after a huge family get-together, many of our family and friends were complimenting us on some unique collections and upholstered pieces we had in our home and remarked, ‘You guys should open a store,’” Kenneth says. “After a few months of contemplating, I drove my wife to the storefront where we are currently located and said to her, ‘Let’s do it! Let’s open a store.’ And here we are, taking a leap of faith.”
So where did the name What’s Not To Love come from? It’s actually quite endearing.
“The name of the store came last,” Kenneth says. “As my wife was growing concerned whether people would like our vision, I replied to her, ‘If you are doing it, sweetie, then what’s not to love?’ And then she said, ‘Ah-ha! That’s it — that’s the name.”
Kenneth and Rosalyn do their best to keep a finger on the pulse of the people who walk through the doors. Since the store evolves almost daily, they always ask their customers what items are in the market that they would like to find or what would they like to see more of. Their goal is to assist as much as they can while also still staying true to their vision.
“Our hope is to simply provide services that people will appreciate and cherish as much as we do,” Kenneth says. “We are not in it for the money…we would have chosen something more lucrative! But the ability to tell the story of how a piece from the 1800s came into our possession, preserve or restore the item and then pass it on for someone else to appreciate really means a lot to us.”
IF YOU GO
11505 Cinema Drive, Suite 5, D’Iberville
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; closed Sunday