By Rod Lee
It is apparent soon after beginning any conversation with Joy Demers that a reverence for the past dictates many of her actions.
Preserving memories of yesteryear was the motivation when Jamie and Joy Demers launched Joyful Things (Antiques & More) on N. Main St. in North Uxbridge in 2013. The same urge draws her to Brimfield as a participant in the town’s annual, nationally renowned flea market; and to the Grafton Town Common for a popular antiques show held every June.
It is also what prompted Ms. Demers to take on a second store, North Main Street Antiques—now Joyful Things on North Main, at 68 No. Main St. (Rt. 140) in North Grafton—several months ago, when Kerry Simmler decided to retire.
“We had a spot in here for a few years and (Ms. Simmler) was a mentor who had been in the business a long time. I thought it was a natural progression,” Ms. Demers said on Father’s Day.
It comes as no surprise, then, given her affinity for the ties that bind a current generation to those of the past, that Ms. Demers is also thinking about starting a monthly book club in collaboration with a fellow shopkeeper: Morgan King of Off the Common Antiques at 4 Worcester St. in Grafton Or that the material discussed would be classic literature. “Like Dickens,” she said, in reference to a favorite writer of hers whose works, including “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Oliver Twist,” were penned in the 1800s.
Lying on a table near the sales counter of Joyful Things on North Main too was a hardcover copy of famed American aviator Charles Lindbergh’s “We.” Published in 1927, it is a first-person account of Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic flight and life.
“I have that same book!” a visitor told Ms. Demers. She seemed pleased to hear that news.
Her affinity for the dated mostly comes from “my grandmother, Blanche Perkins,” she said. “We used to get all kinds of things and fix them up. She owned Perkins Upholstery. They were poor” and had to make do with what they had or could pick up inexpensively.
As evidence that Ms. Demers is not completely rooted in “what was” as opposed to “what is,” she noted that she is an avid fan of audio books, which she reads by way of “Libri Vox.”
Joyful Things on North Main will be a different undertaking for Ms. Demers in that “here we have vendors, in Uxbridge it’s just us;” also, the North Grafton store’s focus will be “antiques and vintage pieces” while the Uxbridge location is “more masculine, gas and oil. This is a more varied assortment,” she said.
That the name of one of the seven or eight vendors who will occupy the three rooms of Joyful Things on North Main is Robin Houde seems another fitting nod to the dusty pages of history, in the thoughts it brings to mind of the legendary heroic outlaw of English folklore.
Ms. Houde, of Shrewsbury, who was setting up her spot at Joyful Things on North Main on the 16th, said “I’m going to call it Robin’s Vintage Nest. Booth 52.”
Ms. Demers is confident that both Joyful Things and her companion store in North Grafton can co-exist and thrive. The Uxbridge store will operate on weekends only under the direction of her husband. Also, “anything online we do goes through that store,” she said.
Further, since Joyful Things on North Main is an established entity, “it’s not like I’m starting a brand-new location,” she said.
This is an exciting time for Jamie and Joy Demers as they embark on an expansion of their business.
“Jamie fell in love with [vintage] too,” she said. “We left corporate America behind and don’t miss a day of it.”
New signage for Joyful Things on North Main is coming.
Or should we say new “old” signage.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.