Story and photography by Meredith Bernard
As a child, Hosanna Blanchard knew that her most favorite times were spent with her Grandmother crafting old treasures into new ones. What she didn’t know then is that she’d now be doing the same thing, thirty-some years later, in the same exact building her Grandmother once ran a quilt and craft shop, in the very same town she’d always loved to call home. It only takes one step past the old screen door with the welcoming ding of a bell that leads into Carolina Vintage Co. on Broad St., Milton, North Carolina to know you’re somewhere special and somewhere you want to stop and explore.
Hosanna’s store doesn’t fit into the mold of antique shop, gallery or consignment store, because it’s in a category all its own. What began in 2009 as an online Etsy shop with vintage clothing and accessories, is now a fully stocked gift boutique. In addition to vintage clothing, Hosanna sells a curated collection of interesting items she’s picked up, re-purposed or made from scratch, locally made artwork, a vast assortment of handmade jewelry, spoon rings, wrist cuffs, key rings and home décor. Also, she does custom work and wholesale for other boutiques.
The heart of what sets Carolina Vintage Co. apart is Hosanna’s heart to create items as an expression of who she is. Every handmade and hand-stamped piece of jewelry is an outlet for her creativity and personal desire to encourage people through messages of empowerment, strength and potential.
The road to where she is now hasn’t been easy or short, but the process has allowed her to grow not only her business, but as a person. When asked what her favorite part of what she does, she said it’s “the satisfaction from making and creating – seeing something old and mundane and making it interesting and fresh. Taking junk from being forgotten to important.”
With the passion she has for giving old things new life, she wants the same for her beloved hometown. Through serving on several town boards, recently being named as a 2019 Middle Border Forward Fellow, and in the process of completing a marketing degree this year from Danville Community College, she is making great strides to not only educate herself, but bring recognition and revitalization to Milton. She’s watched other people and businesses leave the one-road town to pursue opportunities elsewhere, but it’s always been her dream to stay and do her part to help draw people to the hidden gem she feels Milton is. The addition of Carolina Vintage Co. to Milton’s two restaurants, local art gallery, antique shops, and Thomas Day House museum, makes it the perfect destination day trip location.
Hosanna has a heart to contribute to her community and her enthusiasm for change, development and seeing potential where others don’t is not only inspiring, it’s contagious. This woman, running a one-woman “Click and Mortar” store, is one woman whose name you will continue to hear, because her work is truly just beginning. She’s not only in so many ways preparing herself to grow, she’s preparing her town and all who have the pleasure of knowing her, to grow with her.
The next weekend you drive through Milton, do yourself a favor and stop in Carolina Vintage Co. You can find Hosanna tending shop most weekends, Saturdays 11a-5p, Sundays 1p-5p and other times by appointment (call 434-728-5115). If a drive through Milton isn’t in your plans, now would be a great time to make them. Also connect with and shop Carolina Vintage Co. on Facebook and Etsy.
Meredith Bernard is a photographer, writer and farmer living and working with her husband and two children on a beef cattle farm in Milton, NC. Connect with her online at thisfarmwife.com.