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Up-cycling the norm at Windsor’s newest business

Conrad Mullins, owner and operator of Retrouve in Windsor, stands beside a Sky Jump pinball machine from 1974 ‚ one of the fun gadgets from yesteryear that he has for sale.
Conrad Mullins, owner and operator of Retrouve in Windsor, stands beside a Sky Jump pinball machine from 1974 ‚ one of the fun gadgets from yesteryear that he has for sale. - Carole Morris-Underhill

Architectural salvage shop offers eclectic and nostalgic décor for the home

WINDSOR, N.S. —

Looking for an old jukebox? How about an old-fashioned conversation piece for the wall in the living room?

If these ideas have piqued any interesting, the new business on 134 Gerrish St. in Windsor may be just what you’re looking for.

If anyone is wondering what it is, it’s a shop — in both senses of the word.

Along with a variety of old architectural salvage, and pieces that may trigger some nostalgia and fond memories of the 1960s and 70s; the process of that very salvaging and restoration of other similar pieces takes place in the very same building.

Candy that is sure to bring back some youthful memories is on sale at Retrouve, a new Windsor-based owned by Conrad Mullins. - Carole Morris-Underhill photos
Candy that is sure to bring back some youthful memories is on sale at Retrouve, a new Windsor-based owned by Conrad Mullins. - Carole Morris-Underhill photos

That eclectic energy is very much a part of the appeal of Retrouve, a business that puts a new lease on life on older objects.

Owner Conrad Mullins stops short of calling Retrouve an antique store, because that doesn’t quite encapsulate its purpose.

“It’s architectural salvage and redesign,” Mullins said in a phone interview. “Retrouve is French for ‘finds,’ and a play on the word ‘retro.’ We source or find architectural salvage and unique pieces that people can repurpose in their home or business or whatever. A lot of it is salvage from old general stores or mercantile places.”

Currently, along with the many finds from across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick — and as far away as Montreal — there are several active restoration projects going on at the business. Some of the items adorning shelves and walls in Retrouve are as old as 150 years.

Many of the pieces, Mullins noted, are larger pieces that “have some impact.”

Conrad Mullins tests out the 1950s rickshaw cart from India. Mullins has all sorts of treasures for sale in his new store in downtown Windsor.
Conrad Mullins tests out the 1950s rickshaw cart from India. Mullins has all sorts of treasures for sale in his new store in downtown Windsor.

“I’m hoping the shop can have a lot of people saying, ‘I never thought of using this for that, or putting this thing on the wall, rather than have it look like a junk pile in my shed.’”
Retrouve also accommodates younger interests, with a small candy store with pinball machines on site, so the kids won’t get too bored during a visit.

Mullins noted he has gone far and wide to gather the curiosities and pieces that adorn his store, and that there are always ongoing projects inside.

“We consider ourselves an up-cycling type of business, taking things that are no longer used and finding a modern-day purpose,” said Mullins.

“We reach out to local tradespeople and artisans to help with the projects and they’ll repurpose the items into something people can use in their home, sometimes that aren’t normally used that way,” Mullins said, suggesting a good example would be, “an old Coke sign that maybe someone wants to put up in their living room.”

The intrigue Mullins intended to spark with his business has proven to be a big draw, with the official grand opening on June 8 bringing in 200 people, and regular visits drawing about 50 to 100 people a day.

“It’s quite the experience,” said Mullins, describing a walk through Retrouve. “Most people have to go through a couple more times just to absorb everything that is in there. There’s a lot that people can use for interior design, or conversation pieces or just an eclectic old-fashioned look in their homes.”


DID YOU KNOW

• Retrouve officially opened June 8.

• It’s located at 134 Gerrish St. in Windsor

• Store hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you have an interest in antiques, there’s a chance you’ll find something to pique that interest at Retrouve.
If you have an interest in antiques, there’s a chance you’ll find something to pique that interest at Retrouve.

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