Thomson residents now have two more reasons to shop in Thomson rather than going to Augusta for specialty items. A fish store opened on Washington Road two weeks ago, and a Victorian reproduction store opens today on Main Street. The stores may be new, but the owners have years of experience.
Mike's Tropical Fish specializes in cichlids, tropical community fish, aquariums and aquarium supplies, aquarium plants, pond fish and pond plants. Store manager Jason Burchfield said he has been caring for fish for 25 years, and owner Mike Nassenstein has 30 years experience.
Bridget Lindsey poses for a picture on a sofa in her new Thomson store.
"(Mike) was in the military, and he's been carrying fish all over the world, so he knows everything about how to keep them alive," Mr. Burchfield said.
Mr. Burchfield became hooked on fish when he was five years old and lived in Bangkok, where his father was stationed.
"Seeing all the bright colors of fish there fascinated me, and I have been fascinated with them ever since," he said.
The congo tetra is Mr. Burchfield's favorite fish at the store. He said the store specializes in fish uncommon to this area, such as dragon fish, seven types of catfish, eels, shrimps, newts and mudskippers. The store also carries platys, which are good for beginning aquarium enthusiasts. They do not carry saltwater fish.
Aquariums of all shapes and sizes, from 250 gallons on down, with any type of cabinetry are available at the store, which offers in-home delivery and set-up. Water testing is another service offered there.
Fish in their aquariums are grouped in their communities, to make choosing easier. The walls of the store feature brightly colored underwater murals by local artist April Poss.
"I live in Thomson and I prefer to shop in Thomson. I didn't want to drive 30 miles to shop for fish, or order off the internet and pay shipping prices," Mr. Burchfield said. "I want to see this whole area grow."
The store, located at 1464 Washington Road, is open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. Call 706-597-0423 for more information.
Amity Trader specializes in exclusive Victorian furniture and accents, handmade Australian crystal jewelry and fragrant oils. This is the third location for store owner Bridget Lindsey, who began selling antiques 20 years ago. Her other stores are in Lincolnton and Lexington, SC.
Mrs. Lindsey said antiques in good condition were hard to find at a good price. So, using the designing talent that God blessed her with, Mrs. Lindsey reproduces Victorian pieces with flair.
"My taste is unique. I don't want what you see in my store to be what you can find in the next furniture store down the street," she said.
In addition to Victorian furniture, Mrs. Lindsey said the store will carry leather furniture "with big nail heads." The assortment in her store also features oil paintings, pictures, and chandeliers.
The fragrant oils are created by Mrs. Lindsey's son, Griff, and can be worn or burned as incense. The crystal jewelry features matching designs for mothers and daughters.
The furniture is made using solid wood with a cherry-oak, cherry or cream and gold finish. Tables have real marble inlays, and mirrors are also framed in solid wood.
"The quality is there; it has to be there. But it's unique. It looks like 5th Avenue with a Wal-Mart price," Mrs. Lindsey said.
Although her designs are exclusive, Mrs. Lindsey said she keeps her prices down by working straight with the factory and eliminating the middle man. She offers decorating services, delivery and in-store financing.
Although Mrs. Lindsey lives in Lincolnton, she said she wanted to open a store in Thomson. When she approached her husband, Stephen, with the idea, he told her to "pray about it." Mrs. Lindsey said as soon as she did, she saw the Camellia House was closing, and she thought that was her sign from God.
The store is located in the Knox Shopping Center on Main Street. It opens today, with cake and punch being served. The hours are from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 706-595-1551.