Samantha Bayarr didn’t know why she was drawn to the antique orchard ladder above the counter at Apple Seeds, a longtime home decor shop on Main Street. A frequent patron of the store, Bayarr asked owner Betty Wetherington if she could buy the ladder, and Wetherington replied that the one in the store was not for sale but she and her husband could find another.
“I had no real use for it; I couldn’t even fit it in my car, with it being about 15 feet tall. Something just told me to take it home,” said Bayarr.
Betty and her husband offered to deliver a ladder to Bayarr’s home, and toward the end of that visit, the ladder’s role became clear. “Personally, I call it a miracle from God,” Bayarr said.
The Wetheringtons, as they were leaving Bayarr’s home, happened to mention that they had put their store on the market. “SOLD!” Bayarr wasted no time in jumping at the opportunity.
Bayarr has already realized one dream in her life, which was becoming a writer. Now, her other dream was about to come true — that of having a shop of her own.
“If they had not delivered the ladder to my house, I probably would not have known Apple Seeds was for sale,” she said.
“I’ve always loved the store,” Bayarr said. “They have quality products, and since I have lots of things from here in my own home I feel like I can stand behind the merchandise completely.”
Bayarr said she intends to keep about 95 percent of the store as it is, but will add a few things, including a book section for the works of local, self-published authors. Bayarr, as a successful author of Christian and Amish fiction said she would like to give other aspiring authors a leg up. Owner of her own publishing company, Livingston Hall, Bayarr sold half a million books last year on Amazon and through her own website.
“Really, craft fairs are the only local avenue for authors right now, so this will give them a way to sell their books through consignment, to give them additional exposure,” Bayarr said.
She stressed that the books would have to be wholesome in nature, since she wants to preserve the family atmosphere of Apple Seeds. “No zombie/vampire novels,” she laughed.
Two of her three daughters will work in the store, as well as longtime employees Donna Helms and Fran Coleman.
Hours will be the same, except during the Bloomin’ Arts Festival in March. For that event, they’ll be open all weekend, displaying some new products in addition to the standbys.
And the Wetheringtons can enjoy their retirement, secure in the knowledge that their business of 17 years is in the hands of someone who wants to carry on the store’s longtime tradition and good reputation.
Local, self-published authors interested in consigning can call Bayarr at 863-533-6400.