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Brittany Jane's & Co. 01/17/18

Owner Brittany Aitken is shown at Brittany Jane's & Co. in Mattoon on Wednesday.

KEVIN KILHOFFER, JOURNAL GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER

MATTOON -- The new Brittany Jane's & Co. shop downtown offers re-purposed furniture, home decor items, boutique clothing and accessories, and other wares, as well as craft workshops.

Owner Brittany Aitken, who is an artisan and craft workshop instructor, opened her shop on Dec. 9 in a downtown storefront at 109 16th St., between Broadway Avenue and the Mattoon Area Family YMCA.

The Charleston native, who now resides in Mattoon, said she started re-purposing old furniture five years ago as an outlet for her artistic creativity and then started taking her handiwork on the road to various craft markets. Aitken said she has been particularly active with Hobnob Market shows, which highlight vendors of vintage and handmade items.

Aitken said she started looking for a storefront a while back to provide space to showcase her re-purposed furniture and other crafts, and to work on her projects. The entrepreneur added that she received a fashion merchandising degree from Eastern Illinois University and had always wanted a store of her own. She also has opened up her shop for cooperative use by other vendors of vintage and handmade items.

Brittany Jane's front window and sales floor are filled with displays of re-upholstered and other re-purposed furniture, antiques, clothing, jewelry and additional accessories, home decor items, candles, essential oils, and more.

"I love seeing it come to life and come together in groupings," Aitken said of her displays.

Aitken and her fellow artisans hold a variety of do-it-yourself workshops at the shop. Recently, Aitken helped participants learn how to make wreaths out of preserved magnolia leaves from Alabama, and Valentine's Day wall hangings from barn wood and other re-purposed materials. Tiffany Ingle is scheduled to lead an essential oils roller ball class from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 28.

The building at 109 16th St. is owned by Century 21 real estate agent Kirk Swensen of Mattoon. Aitken said Swensen has prepared the storefront for her use while leaving brick interior walls and the decorative tin ceiling uncovered, at her request, to go with Brittan Jane's vintage style. Aitken said she loves the architecture of old downtown buildings and she is enjoying being part of this revitalizing business district.

Aitken operates her shop part time while working full time as an assistant project manager and executive assistant for First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust. Brittany Jane's & Co. is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and for workshops as scheduled. More information is available by calling Aitken at 217-549-4588 or by going online to the Brittany Jane's & Co. page on Facebook.

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