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The Front Gate

The Front Gate
USA Handcrafted Primitive Furniture & Décor

Every store owner claims to have something truly unique for customers. Kelly Sparks really does.  Her store, The Front Gate in downtown Crown Point,
offers one-of-a-kind handmade rustic furniture, all of it made with wood salvaged from old barns and other buildings.

Sparks, 26, took over the business three years ago when a former owner was going to close it. As the sole employee, Sparks depends a lot on the generosity of family and friends to keep it going, particularly since she spends a lot of her time on the road visiting individual artisans in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

She doesn’t have a central warehouse to call when she needs to restock her store. Instead, she relies on a network of carefully cultivated craftsmen who build furniture in their garages or barns.

“What I have is primitive home décor. Everything is handmade,” says Sparks. “The furniture is made by using wood from barns, houses and churches that are at least 200 years old.

“These are true craftsmen, and they had no idea how amazing what they do is,” says Sparks.

Sometimes it takes a bit to convince artisans that she’s the real deal. “It’s really hard for me to find them sometimes. It’s a long process, and I’m still finding people. A lot of them have never sold retail before, and I work with them to set prices.”

Sparks loves what she does and is proud that she’s selling 100 percent American-made products.

In addition to handmade furniture, The Front Gate sells a variety of 100 percent soy candles, all of them made in the U.S.

“I didn’t know it would be like this when I started my business,” says Sparks. “But I knew what I liked, and I thought other people would, too.”

Before retail, Sparks was drawing blueprints for AT&T.  Her only retail experience was working at the mall when she was in school.

“What I hope is that in five years, my business will still be here and thriving. I didn’t imagine I’d be where I am right now, so who knows what’s next? Maybe I’ll be decorating people’s homes.”

Sparks says a specialty store like hers adds to the flavor of downtown Crown Point. “The city needs some help downtown, and I want to see other kinds of specialty shops open up.”

The Front Gate is at:

136 S. Main St.
Crown Point, IN 46307

Hours:

Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call (219) 226-1600.