New store features farmhouse-style furniture and accents

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Christy and Josh Caldwell took a chance opening their store at a time when COVID-19 has meant widespread restrictions on social interaction. But a month after the shop opened, local residents are discovering the unique merchandise sold there.

Rustic Knots, which opened Aug. 15, primarily sells furniture with a farmhouse style, something Christy Caldwell describes as having a “Chip and Joanna Gaines” look, referring to the couple made famous by their “Fixer Upper” television series.

Much of the Rustic Knots stock is either hand-made or hand-painted and refurbished by the store’s vendors, though some new furniture is sold there, as well.

“My whole goal is to get all vendors to either make or refurbish,” said Christy Caldwell.

The Caldwells began to dabble in furniture painting last year and thought it might make for a side business.

“I thought we were pretty good at it,” Christy Caldwell said. “So, we just kind of got a few cheap pieces, painted them, experimenting with different paints, and really enjoyed it.”

At first, they sold their products through a website and later through a store in Macclenny. The couple began to sell home décor along with their furniture, and things were going so well that they decided to open their own store.

It was a big leap of faith and Christy Caldwell decided to quit her fulltime job as they pursued it. Her husband, meanwhile, maintained his fulltime employment.

Then COVID-19 hit, and Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order. The Caldwells were forced to put their plans on hold. About a month later, that order was lifted for most businesses, and the husband-and-wife team picked up where they left off. They found a space for their store and launched Rustic Knots.

Statistical projections suggest a potentially prosperous future for the new retail business. That’s because new homes will translate into a demand for furniture. And one doesn’t have to be a statistician to recognize the growth now under way in St. Johns County.

In fact, even the most modest projections by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research estimate tremendous growth here over the next 25 years. The county’s population is projected to be between 314,000 and 511,900 by 2045.

For all those newcomers, Christy Caldwell has a message.

“Buy a home, come pick out some new furniture,” she said.

Rustic Knots is located at 40 Everest Lane Suite 2 in St. Johns. That’s in the Bartram Promenade. It’s currently open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Beginning in October, the store will be closed on Mondays.

The business phone number is 904-588-4685.

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