Something Old and Something New
Vinterest Antiques is a treasure trove of unique finds, from timeless vintage furnishings to handcrafted pieces by local artisans. Here, we spoke with owners Katherine and Paul Schurer to learn more about the heart behind their business model and the passion that drives their success.
By Catherine Smith // Photography by Emily Pérez Long
Years ago, Katherine and Paul sold their first antique store in Huntsville, Alabama, to relocate to Atlanta for Katherine’s corporate career. The opportunity to move up the corporate ladder seemed too good to pass up, but as the stress of the job compounded, she realized her heart was no longer in it.
This epiphany spurred them into action, with Katherine putting in her notice and Paul immediately starting to scout locations for a new antique shop, this time in Chattanooga. Recalling the day they found the perfect warehouse for their plans, Paul says, “Something kept nagging us to check out Hixson, and something about that space just felt like home.”
Together, the Schurers went all-in on their fresh start, and it paid off in spades. The Hixson location was a resounding success, driving the couple to open two additional locations – one in Southside Chattanooga and another in Nashville, where Katherine grew up. Today, Vinterest has grown to include over 250 vendors who set up shop in the store to sell their unique items.
The impact Vinterest has on local artisans and small businesses is a big one: the chance to sell their items in a brick-and-mortar location. With support from Vinterest, vendors can take their businesses to the next level without the typical risks of starting a solo venture. “We work with a lot of our vendors one-on-one,” Paul explains. “I enjoy getting to know what their financial and business goals are and being a part of their journey.” For the Schurers, seeing vendors thrive and exceed their goals is incredibly rewarding. “Many of them are chasing their dreams of being self-employed and pursuing their passion as an artisan or entrepreneur,” Katherine says. “There is just so much heart poured into the place.”
From nostalgic décor to handcrafted art, each vendor booth showcases the heart and soul of the person behind it. As a result, Katherine says, “The shops are as unique as the people who source the products.” Additionally, Paul says the customers who frequent each location are just as unique. “In Hixson, the farmhouse style is still going strong. Mid-century items and other vintage items seem to be our downtown customers’ favorites, but music memorabilia and gift items completely dominate at our Nashville location.”
Vinterest offers something for everybody, and the welcoming nature of the store is no accident – the customer experience has been a priority since day one. Paul says, “Before we opened Vinterest, we spent a lot of time nailing down this piece of our business model. It is really important to us that Vinterest feels welcoming.” To this end, Vinterest welcomes pets and offers kids a free juice pouch to make shopping more fun for parents and pet owners alike. “Our staff comes up with so many fun events and little customer service touches that you just don’t seem to find anymore. It is just a joyful, happy place,” Katherine says.
There’s no doubt that Vinterest has created a strong community of employees, vendors, and happy customers. As a result, the shop has been voted Chattanooga’s best antique store by the Chattanooga Times Free Press’ “Best of the Best” people’s choice awards every year since opening. “That award always feels like a nice, big hug from the community,” says Katherine.
Looking to the future, the Schurers plan to enjoy every step of Vinterest’s journey – wherever it takes them. “Every day we are open feels like a gift. We do not take a single day for granted as small business owners,” Paul shares.