XENIA — Tori Lane loves to buy junk.
And then she loves to fix it so it isn’t junk anymore. It’s what Lane calls “upcycling” and “repurposing” and it’s the basis of her business, T. Lane Designs Limited, in downtown Xenia.
“I go to a lot of auctions and barn sales and do a lot of scouting for things,” Lane said. “I redo them. I still haven’t perfected how to describe the store.”
What Lane has perfected is the ability to turn one person’s junk into another person’s treasure just with a few strokes of a paint brush or a couple smacks with a hammer.
“A lot of times I’ll just see a piece and envision it another way,” Lane said.
A perfect example is a rather patriot item Lane is selling. It started out as a normal wooden pallet — one seen at a grocery store or a warehouse. With some red and white paint and a blue star it became an American flag. She also took a piece of salvaged wood, painted it, added an anchor and some mermaid figurines and voilà — a perfect wall hanging for a beach house.
Not a bad effort for someone with no real background in that type of work.
“I’ve always been artsy but never knew where that was going to take me in life,” Lane said.
It took her to the heart of Xenia — where the 22-year-old has always called home.
After graduating from Clark State College in 2013 with a degree in business marketing, Lane was set for a career in photography (which she still does). But along with her mother, Amy Hiles, she would pick up junk pieces and knick knacks and refurbish them.
That’s when Lane decided it was time to open her own business. Originally she was just going to travel around to various shows and fairs to keep costs down.
“The idea of having the overhead of a store scared me,” Lane said. But when the 2013 Americana Festival was a washout due to rain, Lane’s focus changed. At the urging (reads: nagging) of her mother, Lane searched all around Xenia for the perfect place. She found it at 75 W. Main St.
“I just decided to take a leap of faith,” she said. “If I can (still) pay my college bills, I’ll give it a shot.”
Sept. 6, 2013 was the soft opening during the First Fridays event. On Sept. 21 the official opening took place with a ribbon cutting and an engagement at the same time. Upon cutting the ribbon, Mayor Marsha Bayless was in a jovial mood and said to Lane and her boyfriend, Jeremy King, “I now pronounce you man and wife.”
Lane joked that she needed a ring first. King slithered over to Lane and popped the question. Her family knew it was going to happen. Bayless didn’t.
“Her mouth just dropped,” Lane said. “That was a pretty special day.”
The whole experience for Lane has been special.
“The support from the community has been astounding,” Lane said.
In addition to her works, Lane also displays some work local vendors create and has brought Country Joe’s Coffee back to the store where it was once sold. She sells packages of various flavors.
“That’s been a big hit,” Lane said.