General News

‘A passion of love’, Shelburne’s Second Fiddle to close

March 26, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Written By MARNI WALSH

Second Fiddle, owned and operated by Diana Buckley and her partner Eric Nagler, at 112 Main Street in Shelburne, will be closing its doors by May.  

“A store that defies description,” as the couple says, it was perhaps, “an anachronism in this modern world of click-and-buy, ship-to-door commercialism.” Filled with antiques and second hand treasures, gemstones, unique jewlery, books, DVD’s, and even the occasional fiddle, the store has been a fixture in the downtown core for the past 17 years.

Second Fiddle was started in 2012 by Diana Buckley’s high schooled aged son Isaac and his friends as a youth drop-in centre, named “The Drop.”  As the ambitious students needed adult supervision, the couple agreed to support his efforts and Ms. Buckley moved her online eBay business into the store front. 

However, without support from either the Town or the local service clubs they approached, (other than volunteer helpers from Youth for Christ,) they were financing the youth centre out of their own pockets. 

“When Youth for Christ set up an old trailer rig for the kids, it was finally time for Diana and Eric to let their personal charity go,” the couple says. With an established customer base now supporting Ms. Buckley’s Main Street Boutique, Ms. Buckley decided to carry on at the location rather than move her business back home – and the youth centre evolved into the Second Fiddle. 

“Early on, Second Fiddle specialized in selling Blue Mountain pottery, and soon included jewelry, rocks and crystals, video rentals, books… and whatever Diana, the inveterate garage sailor, would find of interest,” the couple told the Free Press.

Diana Buckley says, “Running Second Fiddle has mostly been about connecting with customers and the deep relationships that have developed over the years; cottage travelers stopping for supplies or oddities; locals filling bags with books to warm their cold winter nights; migrant farm workers every Friday to purchase DVDs or video machines, radios, suitcases – presents for loved ones back home.”

The couple says, “Diana always considered the store as part income and part community service. She searched out oddities or necessities for folks, internet orders for those without computers, free watch battery replacements – more as an opportunity to visit and gossip than an income source.  One might discover strange and wonderful treasures hidden in back of a crowded shelf, but it was the unhurried human connection that turned folks into regulars.”

“It was a passion of love,” they say. “But no longer affordable.”

Various landlords over the seventeen years have been fair to Second Fiddle, “increasing the rent bit by bit,” say the partners. “But this time when the lease was due, the present landlord said he wanted the rent to reflect the standard of other Shelburne stores, (even though quite a number remain empty)  It meant an increase of half again what we had been paying. Reality is, Second Fiddle never made much more than its costs, and retail in small town Ontario is not what it used to be, with so many folks now purchasing online,”they say.

Ms. Buckley says she is moving back online where she started in the 90’s as one of the first vendors on Ebay. 

The couple says, “Second Fiddle already has an Amazon store for books, and soon will be on eBay and Etsy.  The facebook store is being updated where Diana will be able to maintain contact with her customers and seek ways to make her unique collections of sterling silver jewelry, rocks, fossils and crystals, smudges and specialty items available.  When warm weather arrives, and through the summer, she will be auctioning off items on Maxsold.  Look for ‘storage unit’ garage sales, and perhaps some Tuesdays at the Keady Market.” Second Fiddle on Main Street will close its doors at the end of April. 



         

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