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Tucked into the corner of Tremont Street and West Springfield Street is Pioneer Goods Co., a nostalgic home goods shop that feels more like a familiar cabin than a store. Justin Power opened the doors at beginning of July and has already found his stride—filling the store with vintage and contemporary finds, holding stellar events, and offering design services and advice to those who seek it. It should come as no surprise that Pioneer Goods is carefully edited, as it is the offspring of Maison Décor (previously of Washington Street and still thriving in Reading). Below, Justin tells us all about the new space.—Janine Stafford
What is your vision for Pioneer Goods Co.?
My vision for Pioneer Goods is to create a space that is transportive, whether it be to your childhood, a cabin in the coziest corner of New England, or your grandfather's kick-ass den, I want it to be evocative of something meaningful to each person who gives us the pleasure of walking through our doors.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Chalk Paint portion of our business. I use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to refinish much of the antique furniture I source. In addition to that, we custom paint for our clients whose old furniture needs a new life, and we also sell the paint to those who like to do it themselves.
What inspires you about Americana and how do you see it's influence/importance in design?
Well, certainly Americana seems to be reaching peak trendiness right now, but trends come and go. What's great about the Americana aesthetic is that there's something about it that always works, like blue jeans or flannel shirts.
Take taxidermy for example. It's everywhere right now, but what's great about having a deer head in the shop is that it is evocative of different things to different people; it all comes back to the story.
You could drop a month's rent on a replica industrial cart coffee table at Restoration Hardware or you can come to Pioneer and get an actual cart, manufactured at a foundry in North Carolina that was used for half a century, for a fraction of the cost.
Your new store is the "offspring" of Maison Décor, previously of Washington Street. What made you decide to open it in the South End?
I love the South End, and while the restaurant scene has been firmly established here for years, I always felt the retail end had a bit of catching up to do. The last few years have seen some really exciting, interesting shops open up, helmed by good people with a real passion for what they do.
I grew up in the suburbs, but the South End is more of a community than anywhere I've ever lived. It's a very walkable neighborhood; you end up seeing the same people over and over again and getting to know them. Some of my best customers are people that I served drinks to as a bartender or people I got to know taking my dog to the dog park.
You've got your hands full with a brick and mortar shop, design services and in store events like the tintype evening with Giles Clement recently. Are you planning to do more in-store events/workshops in the future?
Our tintype event with Giles was a huge success. I've been a fan of his for a while and I was thrilled when he reached out to me. It allowed me to put on an event different from your run-of-the-mill grand opening. People could come and leave with something unique or stop in, have a drink, hangout, and see what we're all about. I'd like to continue to offer collaborative events in that vein because I really love working with other passionate individuals who are making great work.
Once we get our footing here, I will be offering Chalk Paint workshops to teach people how to transform their furniture the way I do for clients. The paint workshops have been our bread and butter for a long time—my mom's workshops in Reading sell out well in advance. I love to teach because there's always that moment when you see a student realize that they can do anything they want to create and transform their space.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those trying to infuse a little personality and warmth to their space?
Well for one, you don't have to follow any rules—I don't. Do you want to hang an old wooden ladder from the ceiling? Do it! The things I'm most inspired by are when I can see that the person behind it is thinking outside the box. I love mixing high and low items and repurposing things with a creative twist.
Also, don't be afraid to fail. Try things out, and if it isn't working, change it! I've had to tear down entire projects and start from scratch because it wasn't just right. Sometimes that journey is necessary to get you to your final destination.
What are some of your favorite pieces in store right now?
I've got this tremendous set of vintage camp furniture that I had originally bought for myself. It's made of teak wood with green cushions with red piping. It's meant to go outdoors or on a porch, but it's so comfortable. I think it would be so unexpectedly awesome in somebody's living room.
I just sold a pair of antique salt and pepper shakers that were amazing—the caps were cowboy and Indians. Whenever somebody buys something that unique, you always feel a kinship with that person; you're so glad to see it go to a good home.
And I couldn't rightly claim to be part of the Americana movement if I didn't mention my collection of old American flags.
· Pioneer Goods Co [Official Site]
· @pioneergoods [Twitter]
· @pioneergoods [Instagram]