RANDOLPH - ''We have a wide variety of things that would interest everyone,'' is how Valorie Barzak describes her new business venture, called 129 Main Street. The multi-dealer shop is one of the newest businesses in Randolph and opened in April. Seventeen dealers from Jamestown, Olean, Leon, Gowanda, Randolph and Shinglehouse, Pa., are represented within its walls, featuring antiques, collectibles and motorcycle apparel, formal and bridal wear, as well as Avon, Amish-made goods, antique tools, tie-dyed clothing, indoor-outdoor plaques, and statues. Personalized doilies, vintage clothing and jewelry, costume jewelry, old and new Christmas decorations and coins are also for sale. Long-armed quilting is available onsite.
The store is not only unique because of the wide array of items displayed within, but because it is sandwiched between a shop that sells sewing materials and country decor and a boutiquish shop that sells ladies clothing, gifts and home decor, with interior entrances that lead to both. Once inside, a shopper needs not step into the rain, snow or any inclement weather for hours, because there is much to see in this trio of businesses.
''If you can't find something for a gift in here, you can't find it anywhere,'' says Mrs. Barzak.
Valorie Barzak shows off some of her favorite recipes at 129 Main Street, a multi-dealer shop in Randolph that opened in April.
Photos by Beverly Kehe-Rowland
The day that I visited the shop, a 7- or 8-year-old girl was looking for a vintage hat she had seen on an earlier visit, a man called his wife about a Fenton Glass piece that he was looking at, and another man bought two dachshund figurines. I was not interested in shopping because I am trying to rid my house of unnecessary items, but could not resist purchasing 10 small-footed glasses that match the 12 I use with my punch bowl.
''It's such a cooperative effort here and everybody has been so helpful. Everybody helps out in the store,'' says the owner.
Some of the people she mentioned as either manning the business in her absence or mentoring her were Tonia McAllister, Lynn Hall, Lori Milliman and Frieda Milliman along with Gayle See, Tom and Cathy Congdon, and Grace and Dennis Ridout.
Although the store displays only one Christmas tree, Mrs. Barzak has two large trees in her home, a two-story farmhouse that she and her husband, Jim, purchased in 2001.
''We bought the home with 98 acres in November 2001 and moved in seven months later after gutting the complete house. We couldn't have done it without my brother, John Tuttle, a contractor from Olean,'' she said. ''There had been five inches of water in the basement from a broken pipe from an artesian well. My nephew dug it a foot deeper and my brother poured a new concrete floor.''
The original layout of the house was kept and she has decorated it with a country theme ''with a lot of wallpaper.'' The original softwood flooring in the living room was salvaged and the pantry cupboards were refinished. Beautiful marble sills, made by her husband and a friend, adorn the windows.
''We love our farm and the people (of Randolph) have been wonderful to us,'' she said.
She grew up as a city girl, coming from Olean, and now shovels manure, feeds the beef cattle and chickens and drives the tractor.
''My friends were amazed that I would even get my nails dirty,'' she said.
Mrs. Barzak has a large garden and says she is still harvesting lettuce and cilantro. She grows a variety of peppers, including jalapenos, bell, Hungarian and cayenne. She makes a hot pepper dust to sprinkle on food and in various dishes by finely grinding a variety of hot peppers. She has canned nearly 70 jars of hot peppers this year.
''We use a lot of them,'' she said. ''I like to give them away and take them to parties.''
Even though she is an excellent cook now, she hasn't always been. She tells about her first turkey where she neglected to cook the rice before using it in the stuffing, leaving hard grains of rice in the stuffing.
Her mother has taught her a lot about cooking ''because she is a very good cook.'' The recipes she submitted were ''pretty much (her) own concoctions.''
''I never make a recipe the same way twice, because I don't measure,'' she confesses. ''I love to cook and entertain. In fact, my husband has a man cave and I test everything out on them. The trouble is they'll eat anything so I don't know if it's good or not.''
Jim Barzak works as a welder. Valorie has worked in her sister's restaurant and as an engineer technician on cross-country pipelines, but says, ''I'm really a farmer first.''
129 Main Street is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.