Big-band music lilts through the air as the store proprietor dusts a display of Depression Era glass and wraps a package in brown paper and twine. A long-lost episode of The Waltons? No, just another day at Porch Light, where the collection of Midwest farmhouse effects dating from the 1920s to the 1940s is as refreshing as cold lemonade on a hot day.
A recent transplant from Oakland, owner and native Iowan Keiran Best knows the corn-fed territory well. She makes frequent hunting trips to the nation’s heartland, which still has a stocked larder of the time-resistant goods she’s after. “I think there’s always been more to begin with because people were there for generations,” she says. “When they moved out West, they only wanted to take what they could carry.”
Particularly long on charm are a hearty selection of sturdy cabinets, collectible McCoy ceramics and quaint original linens, including vintage printed tablecloths that positively demand to have fried chicken dinner served upon them. Spot-on reproductions round out the merchandise mix.
And while visitors may find themselves in a Hoosier state of mind as they peruse Porch Light, even Best admits reluctantly conceding to relative contemporaneity at the end of the day, when “Pennsylvania 6-5000” is replaced by “Jenny (867-5309)” on her car radio. “But I’m lucky,” she says. “I get to immerse myself in this mood every day.”