Robin Jennings' family has always been a part of her career.
When her children were young, Jennings joined her husband, Chris, to start a woodcarving business. Her kids would run around, sometimes attempting to help her paint and design the handmade pieces.
Today, she watches her grandchildren play inside her new 16,000-square foot home store in Davenport, which she owns with her son and daughter-in-law. The design and decor shop, Living Vintage, opened earlier this month at 3536 N. Brady St., Davenport.
"When I look at my grand-kids, it just brings back all of the memories over the years," Jennings said. "It's just awesome because this is something that's been in my husband's and my heart forever. To see the business go to the next generation, I can't even explain it. It's really good to be close with your family in that way."
Jennings started in the home decor business in 2014, renting a booth inside an Eldridge vintage store. When that shop closed, she took over the entire 3,500-square feet space and opened Living Vintage in 2016.
The store specializes in "bringing in the old with the new" and "the new with the old," she said, offering a mix of vintage, modern and handmade home items. Living Vintage outgrew the store, and relocated to DeWitt last year.
Quickly, her family joined the venture, including her son, Jeramy Jennings, who is a part-owner with his wife, Lindsay.
"I started a marketing agency, and that was something I did, but not something (my wife and I) could do together. This is something we can do together, and usually the kids are running around here," he said. "We have two small kids, 2½-years-old and 1-year-old, so more or less, we're kind of repeating the cycle."
Jeramy Jennings said the store has gained a loyal customer base over the years, in both Eldridge and DeWitt. The store offers a free membership program, and he said members have followed them to each new location.
It only took about one year for the business to grow out of its 5,500-square foot DeWitt location, he said. On Nov. 10, the family expanded the business again, moving into 16,000-square feet on Brady Street in Davenport, across from the Brady Street Stadium.
"We love DeWitt, but there really wasn't anything big enough for us there," Jeramy Jennings said. "We didn't really plan on this location in Davenport because so many businesses are out toward Elmore and 53rd. But with the character of the building, and it being in this older area of town, it was kind of appealing."
"We almost didn't come here, but we walked in and said, 'yeah, this could really work," Robin Jennings said.
The business now has enough room to offer items from 75 national and local vendors, around 35 more vendors than at the DeWitt location. The Brady Street store is filled with staged rooms, such as a "white Christmas" themed living room, a children's bedroom, kitchens, dining rooms and more.
Each corner of the store is carefully decorated with a mix of vintage and modern furniture and decor pieces, she said, adding items for sale are, "whatever we like; they can be very primitive or brand new."
Ann Harms, general manager, said several Quad-City makers have pieces for sale, along with "consignors offering one-of-a-kind handcrafted items you can't find anywhere else."
When asked about customers' reactions to the new store, the family quickly grew speechless, with the owners eventually sharing the sentiment, "We knew we'd be busier than in Dewitt, but we never expected this."
While Living Vintage is bigger than ever — and planning to expand next year by opening the lower level of the Brady Street store — Robin Jennings said her main priority is keeping the business a family collaboration.
"Jeramy is really the driver of the business now with his wife," she said. "It's honestly something I've always dreamed of. And then seeing the little grandchildren here. It's so surreal."
Customers who sign up for a free membership will receive discounts, plus the opportunity to attend “reveal parties” when the store is redesigned for each season, she said. For more information on Living Vintage, visit its Facebook page.