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Owners Like To Change It Up At Monroe Marketplace

Denise Houghton and Kate Hinrichsen opened The Marketplace on Main in January.
Denise Houghton and Kate Hinrichsen opened The Marketplace on Main in January. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The main showroom at Marketplace on Main looked like this in September.
The main showroom at Marketplace on Main looked like this in September. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
A simple sign beckons customers to check out The Marketplace on Main in Monroe.
A simple sign beckons customers to check out The Marketplace on Main in Monroe. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Small rooms hold big treasures at The Marketplace on Main in Monroe.
Small rooms hold big treasures at The Marketplace on Main in Monroe. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Small rooms hold big treasures at The Marketplace on Main in Monroe.
Small rooms hold big treasures at The Marketplace on Main in Monroe. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

MONROE, Conn. — Visit The Marketplace on Main two months in a row and you’re likely to think you’ve walked into a completely new shop.

And that’s exactly how owners Denise Houghton and Kate Hinrichsen like it.

“We’re open a handful of days and a weekend and then we come in and completely redecorate it for the next month,” said Houghton, who, like Hinrichsen, is from Trumbull. “We never wanted to set it up like a crowded antique shop.”

Instead, visitors find a space that speaks to the co-owners’ strengths. Hinrichsen, who runs The Lyon’s Lair Antiques from her home, provides the funky collectibles and antiques she picks up at flea markets and tag sales. Houghton, who paints furniture and cabinets through her home business, du Grenier (French for “from the attic” ), gussies things up with a fresh coat, new hardware and whatever else strikes her fancy.

Then the pair re-envision their four-room space, which is tucked in the rear of The Crescent Village Shopping Center on bustling Route 25. Anything that hasn’t been purchased the previous month vanishes, replaced by a whole new set of offerings, often repurposing fence posts, glass and other potential-filled castoffs.

“Even though we’re on Route 25, it’s really pretty. Kind of like a cottage,” Hinrichsen said. “People can envision how things would look in their house.”

The business partners met in December 2014, when Houghton was showing her work in Trumbull and a mutual friend thought Hinrichsen could help with the show. Soon they were partnering at Fairfield’s Pop Shop Market and other venues around the region.

In December 2015, the two sat down to discuss opening a shared space — one that would combine their wares, but allow them to keep their separate businesses. Hinrichsen soon found the Monroe space.

“Forty-seven days later, we opened,” said Houghton.

The owners believe The Marketplace on Main is appealing in an Internet-saturated era.

“The market has changed a lot,” said Hinrichsen. “The mom and pop antique shop on Main Street? It’s just not viable anymore.”

In fact, the pair use modern technology to announce their open dates through e-mail blasts and texts to frequent customers and they’ve just launched their website. But many people who pop in are drawn by their old-fashioned sign by the side of the road.

The Marketplace on Main still takes its show on the road, including a Nov. 18 Weston Women’s League fundraiser. It also opens by appointment and hosts girls nights out in the shop, often on Thursdays.

“Nobody comes in here and spends less than half an hour,” said Houghton. “It’s fun!”

To learn more about The Marketplace on Main's next monthly market and other events, visit www.themarketplaceonmain.com .

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