Home Décor Store Sandlin Adds To Erie’s Revitalization (photos) | AroundPtown.com (2024)

Sarah Ford, AP Staff

The indoor and outdoor transformation is nearly complete at 810 Main Street in downtown Erie, bringing a new vibe to the northeast block on the triangle. Sandlin is the newest business to open in downtown Erie, offering a variety of home décor, fashion, and gifts.

The storefront’s patchwork of color was the latest project to get tackled, with painters giving a fresh coat of black over the brick and blue façade this week to complement the white trim. The final makeover contributes to the ongoing beautification of downtown Erie.

Sandlin officially opened for business on Friday, July 21, with owners Ashleigh and Luke Sandrock cutting a red ribbon with family, friends, and Revitalize Erie members before the shopping began. The business’s name is a combination of Sandrock and her maiden name, Dillin.

Ashleigh had a vision to open her own shop for many years, and after eyeing the vacant building two doors down from the Post Office, she set her sights on that one. But the interior was in dire need of help – floors, walls, and ceiling showed their age, the space needed to be opened up, and there was much work to do before its potential could be realized.

The building has been owned by Betty Warkins of Erie and her late husband Cliff for decades. Ashleigh remembers it being a vet clinic as a child growing up in Erie. It would later become Warkins Garden Gate Floral Shop and then a gift and floral shop, Lacy’s Amazing Vase, which closed a few years ago. The building has sat empty and aging since, with peeling blue paint and a prominent painting of a rural scene on the storefront.

Betty was instrumental with the renovation and bringing the building back to its original glory. “She took something that probably needed to be torn down and made it amazing,” said Ashleigh. “There is no way we could have done this without her. She had the vision to make it as original as possible.”

In the spring, the inside of the building was gutted out and built back from the basics. The original tin tiles of the roof were all removed, sandblasted, painted, and reinstalled. A fireplace mantle was built around the original chimney. Accent molding similar to the original was added to the facade, and new flooring, sheetrock, layout, windows, lighting fixtures, and paint have transformed the indoors to a level of elegance not seen in decades. The space’s new life as a home décor shop is the perfect touch for the historical building.

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As the remodeling wrapped up, it was time for the interior design team to work their magic and get the shop ready for business. Ashleigh and her mom Tami Dillin spent “many hours in many stores and boutiques” to know what they did and didn’t want for Sandlin. “We’re always on the hunt for unique things, and that’s what we wanted from our store,” she said of their shopping quests.

The inventory is just as pleasing to the eyes as the interior space, with florals and succulents, soaps and candles, and home décor such as message signs, farmhouse items, woodcraft, and wall art. Items for the home include pillows and blankets, kitchenware, basketry, and vases. There’s clothing and jewelry for the fashion senses, and a kids’ section with plushies, books, and toys that have been flying off the shelves, said Ashleigh. There’s also plenty of perfect gifts for baby showers, birthdays, weddings, and special occasions. Items from local vendors include soaps, bath bombs, and bubble baths from Marquis Soaps of Clinton, IA and Iowa-based Home Nest Candles.

Much of the interior work is the result of family working together. The couple’s young kids helped with some of the clean-up tasks and picking out inventory. Ashleigh’s dad Gail repaired display pieces and went out for deliveries and pick-ups. Her mom Tami helped with the creative side of the shop while supporting her daughter’s creative drive, and Luke helped with whatever was needed from him.

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Ashleigh was a photographer and worked at a scrapbook store throughout high school and college, so she’s always had a knack for crafts and home décor and an affinity for decorating. She’s offering interior design services through the business. “I can personally come to your house and help you decorate with new and old items, or bring in a piece and we can help with it in the store,” she said.

Another unique element is Fusion paints and classes for do-it-yourself projects. “It’s kind of like chalk paint in the way that there is no prep work, you just paint,” Ashleigh explains. “The bottles are little but will get you many pieces done! I love that it feels smooth, no streaks, and doesn’t chip easily. Plus, it is so easy to use and there are so many color choices. You can paint anything with it, even furniture!” The paint is from a Canadian company called Fusion Mineral, and it’s been a popular choice for Erie crafters, which is why she stocked up. Classes will be offered before too long.

When asked what inspired her to open a business, Ashleigh said Erie is her hometown and “everyone knows my mom and me, and these truly are our people.” She’s also grateful for the efforts of Revitalize Erie, which has “made it so easy to want to be a new business in town.”

She hopes locals and visitors will shop at Sandlin after going to Harvest Bakery and More for a meal or meetings, or coffee and ice cream at Rise Up, or shopping for fresh florals at Blooms 2. Ashleigh said a lady from Atkinson stopped in on opening day because she was with her friend at Harvest and just happened to see the store. “She loved the uniqueness so much she came back with her mother on Saturday. That is why we did this!”

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Ashleigh was raised in Erie and Luke in Tampico, and he currently runs the Cornerstone Agency in Tampico and Morrison. Prior to having kids and taking time off for them, Ashleigh taught at Erie Elementary School and was a cheerleader coach. Their latest venture is a testament to hard work, small town values, following dreams, and community connections.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Find them on Facebook or Instagram

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