Antique furniture, handmade soaps, wooden jewelry boxes and a red scooter in the front window were just a few things that owner and Knox alum Sarah Jones has collected for her shop.
“I guess where the vision comes from is recycling,” Jones said. “We’ve got recycled furniture. A lot of our jewelry is made from recycled things.”
As the daughter of antique collectors, Jones spent much of her life in this recycling mindset.
“When I was little, we’d go to garage sales and thrift stores and pick things up off the curb,” she said.
Eventually, Jones began collecting herself.
“I used to have a restaurant in Milwaukee and we had a retro theme, so I started collecting vintage about 20 years ago,” she said. “Then my house got full. It had to go somewhere.”
At first, it seemed that Jones’ collectibles might have found a home in the Calico Cat. After the owner of The Landmark café mentioned the opportunity to her, Jones relocated from the Quad Cities to Galesburg to manage the shop. When the current owners decided not to retire, the vision for DIG became a reality.
“This is kind of what I wanted to do anyway — this is more my thing. So I started working on it right away,” Jones said.
Although the shop has only been open for about a month, Jones seemed pleased with the response to DIG thus far. Having only used Facebook and local radio to advertise, she said she had a good turnout for the grand opening.
Aside from the recycled vibe at DIG, Jones said that another important aspect of the shop was the community.
“I try to do as much local as I can,” she said.
The shop features a number of local artists, including furniture, upholstery and art dolls made by Marry Tuthill, a friend of Jones’ for the past 16 years.
Tuthill, like Jones, came from an artisan family. Her father whittled and her mother sewed, and from a young age, Tuthill did as well.
“Instead of Adderall, they threw tools at me,” she said.
Jones and Tuthill first became acquainted as adolescents, when they met each other through a more alternative crowd.
“We were all just kind of [a] quirky art community. There were very few of us back then who openly shaved our heads and dyed our hair pink,” Tuthill said.
One of the places the group congregated was Hawk’s Tattoo Parlor, which has since moved to a new location on Main Street. Its previous location is now DIG.
Both Jones and Tuthill got their first tattoos at the age of 18 at Hawk’s.
Tuthill’s was “a tramp stamp of a fairy, before tramp stamps and fairies were bad. Jimmy — one of our artist friends — I was one of the few people that he did a tattoo of. He covered up a birthmark, and I had such pale skin; it was fun to learn how to work on me. So it was one of his first tattoos.”
Tuthill marked DIG’s location as a sort of homecoming, and agreed with Jones that Seminary Street was a ideal environment.
“It’s such a good vibe,” Jones said. “Everyone supports everyone, everyone’s been sending people my way. … I just like the sense of community.”
Building on this is one of Jones’ goals for the future of DIG.
“I want it to be a place for people to come and enjoy each other. It sounds corny, but it’s what I mean,” she said.