Re-Imagining a Business

Bemus Bob with his friends Angie and Brenda.
Bemus Bob with his friends Angie and Brenda.

Article Contributed by
Mallery Rockwell

Angie Lipari and Brenda Gernatt have “re-imagined” the retail business.

These best friends transformed the previous yarn and bead shop, called Imagine, into Re-Imagine. They opened the eclectic shop May 6 on 4950 Main Street in Bemus Point. Re-Imagine offers one-of-a-kind items, including repurposed furniture, custom signs, jewelry, clothing and beautiful pieces made by local artists.

The previous owner of Imagine, Myriam Mayshark, is Lipari’s husband’s aunt. She had been in the retail business for 11 years and thought it was time to hand the shop over to someone else. This was Lipari and Gernatt’s perfect opportunity. They had been refinishing furniture together and were looking for a place to showcase their work at that very time.

Dreams Do Come True
Co-owners Lipari and Gernatt are happy to be working together every day. They previously worked together at the Children’s Safety Village and refinished furniture together on the side. They had nine weeks to get the store ready to go while still working their jobs at the Children’s Safety Village full-time after giving their nine weeks’ notice. “We worked until three in the morning getting stuff ready and would go back to work there. It was crazy.”

“We turned a dream into a reality,” Gernatt said. “We’ve seen each other every single day for the last four months and still have stuff to talk about.” Both agree that their friendship and working together has been the highlight of creating their business. “The best part is getting to come to work and be with each other every day. It just doesn’t feel like a job,” Lipari said.

The shop is located just south of most of the stores in Bemus, and Lipari and Gernatt said they thoroughly enjoy the secluded location. “We really want customers to have the time to talk and not just shop and leave. We want to find out where they’re from, how long they’re here and how they’re enjoying themselves,” Gernatt said. “It’s nice to build that rapport with customers.”

“We want to become the best kept secret in Bemus,” Gernatt and Lipari said simultaneously. People need to travel a little further down Main Street to discover this hidden gem.

What’s in Store?
They started out with simply the repurposed furniture, and expanded to bring in local artists and offer custom signs. “We can do anything that people want to put on a sign,” Lipari said. The standard size is two wooden boards measuring 24×11 and costs $34.95. Customers can add or subtract boards to their preferred size and choose any color for the design. Lipari and Gernatt email and text customers with pictures to make sure they like the design before making it. The painting is sprayed on the wood and sealed over. They encourage customers to come to Re-Imagine for custom vinyl decals or plaques for sports teams names or logos. They are planning to make shirts in the future.

Lipari and Gernatt have a wide selection of jewelry and various items made by local artists. They have items from antiques and pottery to cross-stitching and quilting. Re-Imagine also sells local maple syrup from Bear Ridge Farms. “There’s just so much local talent out there,” Gernatt said. “We’re amazed at what people can do,” Lipari added.

Bemus Bob
One customer gave them the gift of a homemade scarecrow that stands outside to greet customers. Lipari and Gernatt have nicknamed him ‘Bemus Bob.’ The husky yet friendly scarecrow stands tall wearing a straw hat and a wide grin. He “loves having his picture taken” and the two would love for people to share pictures with him on social media with the hash tag #BemusBob.

Re-Imagine will be open year round and during the holidays. The shop is currently open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit their Facebook page or call (716) 386-2244.

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