FARMINGTON — The new Front Street Merchantile offers gifts, goods, decor items plus penny candy that is no longer a penny.

The shop is filled with a variety of new and antique items. It will open for the last two last Saturdays in May and begin regular hours in June, owners Christine Geisser and Thomas Saviello said.

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, May 24 and 31, at 155 Front St., the site of the former Washburn & Johnson Fine Art Gallery. Regular hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays will begin in June. A grand opening will be held June 14.

“We’ve already sold four pieces and we haven’t even opened yet,” Saviello said Monday. “We’re in a peak location.”

The shop joins a collection of unique offerings along a strip on Front Street. There are gourmet foods at Up Front & Pleasant Gourmet, gifts at the Chickadee Nest and gelato at Stone Hearth Cafe, he said.

“We offer a mix of the old and new,” Geisser said.


New art supplies, older jewelry, glassware, a set of Horatio Alger books and turning planes are among older pieces such as a late 1700s or early 1800s desk with square nails.

The shop will offer items to attract a cross section of people, she said.

With the shop, Geisser continues her interest in buying and selling antiques. She opened Broadway Antiques and last year was involved with showings at Camp Castle Cottage on Front Street. Since then, she has continued doing shows, she said.

Running a full-time shop is difficult in what is a competitive business, she previously said. The owners will consider adding hours if the shop is well received.

Saviello, a state senator and Wilton selectman, picked up his interest in antiques from his parents, he said.

“I’m planning my next career,” he said of this new venture.


“I also get to go shopping every week,” he said, referring to attending auctions to purchase items.

They have rented space in the shop to dealers Sally Tyler of The Paperwhite Room in Farmington and Trisha Johnston, who offers baby items along with hand-sewn and gently-used baby clothing.

There are even jars of penny candy, but it’s no longer a penny. This will expand as customers indicate their preference, Saviello said.

It’s a light, cheerful business, ready for people to come in and browse, Geisser said.

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