Store finds new life for vintage items – News – The Kansan – Newton, KS


Whitney and Denis Koehn bring old objects back to life. The couple use their skills – sewing, welding and painting – to reuse vintage items they find at auction.

“We joke that we go where no man has gone before. We get stuff that no one wants until they see it in our booth,” Whitney said.

Their booth, Henry’s Chase, has sold treasures large and small at the Kansas Barn Sale in Hesston for the past five years. Recently, the Koehns decided to take their business to the next level and opened a store in Newton.

“We were at a point where we were either going to stop completely or really do it,” said Whitney.

Henry’s Chase, located at 108 W. Broadway, will officially open from 10 am to 4 pm on September 23.

Whitney fell in love with the architectural features that have been in place since the building served as the Ragsdale Opera House. The design of the store leaves many of these elements open to the public.

“My husband worked really hard,” Whitney said with a smile.

At first, Whitney had to persuade Denis to take the time to find and clean the parts they would sell. Now she said they had both entered the “thrill of the chase”.

“He loves to go to auction,” Whitney said. “He’s the biggest junker you’ve ever seen.”

Using their imaginations and skills, the duo transform everyday objects into pieces that can be both decorative and functional.

“Sometimes you have to rebuild and sometimes if you’re really, really lucky all you have to do is use soap and water,” Whitney said. “We don’t have that chance very often.”

Henry’s Chase is filled with furniture, wreaths, vintage decorations, pillows, and antique doors.

“A lot of what we find is stuff you can use to do stuff,” Whitney said. “People like to do this, but they don’t have time to go digging like we do.”

Lamps and key chains are just a few of the repurposed items for sale at Henry’s Chase.

“It’s just fun to see what you can do from scratch,” Whitney said.

The name of the company is a play on the idea that the project would be like a wild goose hunt.

“Henry was my dog, a giant schnauzer that someone dumped,” Whitney explained. “He loved to run. He raced cars.”

She is excited to continue to add new selections to the boutique, rearranging and redecorating with the seasons.

“There has to be an ebb and flow,” Whitney said.

Plans are underway to add space in the store’s basement for more industrial-style items and to hold workshops to teach people how to reuse items and decorate spaces.

“Our theme is ‘it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good looking,’” Whitney said.

Henry’s Chase is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. For more information call 706-830-7339 or email [email protected]


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