By Amy Palumbo-LeClaire
On June 16, Lisa Caccialino stood in two feet of water and took one last look at her burning antique shop, a building luminescent and red, as reflected by a series of fire trucks, which had lined up on 710 Main Street in North Oxford. The three-alarm fire was called in around 6:30 p.m.
“I was praying that by some chance my items would be untouched since the fire started on the second floor (attic) and never reached my shop. That was not the case,” said Caccialino, who had just dropped her daughter off at a cheerleading practice when she received word of the fire, called the building owner, and arrived at the site at approximately 7:40 p.m.
An electrical fire that engulfed the roof of Rust to Ruffles (along with evidence of its exact ignition) caused the ceiling to collapse and drop onto every item “from jewelry to furniture” before a rush of hosed water blasted any hope of saving merchandise.
“My shop suffered ninety percent water damage. Smoke, debris, and water saturated everything. There was so much going on. It was craziness. Sometime after ten that evening I said, ‘I can’t just stand here and watch. I think I was in shock.’”
More shocking, perhaps, was the one Rust to Ruffles item that remained unscathed by a fire, collapsed ceiling, water, debris, and smoke—the American flag. “Oh my God. Look at the flag. It’s still standing,” noted Mike Bishop, an Oxford resident who had hopped into his truck with his wife, Kathleen, a part-time employee who had been home for only ten minutes before receiving word of the fire, to then drive back. The American flag, suspended from the outdoor wall of a shop set aglow an eerie red, turned out to be the final picture snapped that night.
A surprise June 16th fire may have consumed Lisa’s shop, along with the creations of her talented vendors, but - like the blooming flowers that refused to die and left a few firemen in awe the next morning while they pulled them out - it failed to burn her will to stand tall. “It happened. It’s over. Time to move on. I didn’t close because I had to. I was forced to due to a disaster. There was no reason after only a year in business to throw in the towel. We now refer to ourselves as the Rise of the Phoenix.”
On Saturday, September 30, Lisa and part-time employee Kathleen Bishop hosted an Open House to celebrate the decision to overcome the fire's wrath with a Gerardo’s (of Shrewsbury) cake frosted with the logo Still I Rise, a full buffet of appetizers, and a steady flow of happy, buying customers, many of whom have come to know the quality, artistry, and fair prices of a shop that stocks just about everything.
Brought to life with the help of landlord Paul Dadah (Owner of Oxford’s neighboring Fine Dining Restaurant) and ten loyal vendors, Lisa’s new shop continues to sell furniture (wooden, painted, vintage, and antique), doll collectibles, Barnum & Bailey posters, inspirational wood signs, a Jazz CD collection, sectional rugs and runners, holiday decorations, skin care, jewelry, and more. Whether it’s French country, primitive, industrial farmhouse, or vintage decor, there’s always something borrowed and something new at Rust to Ruffles, now located on 2 Millbury Blvd, Oxford.
“I’ll see something and don’t even know what I’ll do with it, but then find something else to blend it with and it works. There are different types of people. My vendors are set up to suit the needs of everyone’s style.”
Visit Lisa Caccialino at her new shop or call her at (508) 434-6160. Email her at [email protected]. Visit her on Facebook. Rust To Ruffles/facebook.
Write to Amy at [email protected]