4 barns, 2 friends, 1 dream come true

Driving back from the Chandelier Barn Market in Montgomery last fall, Georgiann Coons came up with an idea.

Her friend, Jenny Stuckwisch, was in the car with her at the time, and Coons thought it would be neat to have their own barn market in Seymour.

“On the way home, I said, ‘Hey, Jenny, you should do this at your farm. It would be great,’” Coons said. “She said, ‘You want to do it with me?’ And I’m like, ‘Sure.’ It just kind of developed from there. We sort of thought maybe we could do it.”

They got their husbands on board, and work began on cleaning up the barns at Jenny and Brian Stuckwisch’s farm to host the first Hen and Chicks Barn Market. Nearly 30 vendors will be set up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at their farm at 5602 E. County Road 100N, southwest of Seymour.

“We thought it would be fun to bring something like this to Jackson County. The majority of the vendors who are coming are Jackson County people,” Coons said.

“Jenny and I like antiques and going to antique shows,” she said. “We’ve been to a lot of markets like this, vintage and urban markets in parks, under tents, at fairgrounds. They are really big in Tennessee and Texas, and they are slowly coming this way. There’s a great big one in Illinois that I went to this year called Hobnob, and they had 140 vendors.”

The four barns were built between 1950 and 1953, and Brian Stuckwisch’s great-aunt lived on the farm until he and his wife moved there about eight years ago.

At one time, the barns were used as a working tool shed and to house chickens and cows and store corn. The Stuckwisches have used them for livestock, too, but mainly for storage.

Cleanup of the barns began a year ago.

“That was the biggest obstacle,” Stuckwisch said. “Some of these barns hadn’t been touched in 30, 40 years.”

During that process, they found items such as old doors, chicken feeders and chicken coops. Stuckwisch said it was neat for her husband to sort through the old family treasures.

“It was fun for him just to go through the barns and be like, ‘I can remember when we had something here,’” she said. “Some of the barns had 6 inches of dirt.”

The work also included replacing the roof on the chicken house and painting the concrete blocks on the outside of the dairy barn.

“Jenny and I took a trip to New York City in March, and we visited some of her cousins in Pennsylvania,” Coons said. “We saw these beautiful barns with the stone foundations, and I thought, ‘I wonder if we could make it look like that.’ We painted (the dairy barn) up and tried to make it look a little bit more like that stone foundation.”

Coons said she also did a lot of research, talking to people who conduct barn markets and figuring out how they run their shows and what they do about parking and restrooms.

Stuckwisch and Coons walked through all four barns to figure out how many vendors they could fit in each one. There wound up being about 40 spaces available, but some vendors are taking up two spots.

Coons said she thought finding vendors would be a big challenge, but word of mouth and social media helped them fill the barns.

The event also will feature music by Mike Gerth, Jordan Richart and Mark Friend; food from TJ’s Barbecue and Catering and Back Porch Ice Cream; and demonstrations by Jubilee Flowers and Gifts and Beautiful Chaos.

“We just want it as a community event that people can come out and enjoy themselves,” Stuckwisch said.

“We want to make it just not a sale but more of an experience out in the country,” Coons added. “We aren’t going to get rich from this. But we just love it and want to share our love of that, really, and just have fun with it.”

Earlier this week, Coons and Stuckwisch did some final cleanup and hung decorations.

They both agreed it’s nice to see it all come together after spending the past year organizing the event.

Stuckwisch had to balance spending time working on the barns with her full-time job as a physical therapy assistant, making trips to see her daughter, Sam, play college volleyball and see her youngest child off to college. Coons is a writer and musician and does a lot of community service, so she stays busy, too.

“We’ve been friends for a long time. We’ve just had a really good time working together,” Coons said.

“Georgiann brings a lot of different things to this. I supply the place, and she supplies the creativity,” Stuckwisch said.

“I would say Brian and I have spent 90 percent of our time out here. We’re to the point where it’s like, ‘Woo-hoo, it’s clean,’” Stuckwisch said, laughing. “Brian and I have both enjoyed it, and it has been a lot of work. It’s fun to see things fall into place now that we’re into the last stages of this, and it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s coming together.’”

Coons said they plan to have at least one barn market next year. The good thing is that it won’t require all of the cleanup that they had to do for this weekend’s show.

“We’ve already been asked if we’re going to do one this spring, and we’re like, ‘Let’s get through this one,’” Coons said, smiling.

“After Saturday, we’ll sit down and evaluate. I’m pretty sure we want to do it again next fall.”

If you go

What: Hen and Chicks Barn Market

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Brian and Jenny Stuckwisch’s farm at 5602 E. County Road 100N, Seymour

Admission: $5

Information: facebook.com/henandchicksbarnmarket

Vendors include:

Rusty Toolbox (Stacey Simpson; antiques)

Rita Wischmeier (antiques)

Karen Lanam (handcrafted snowmen from recycled materials)

Funky Junk (Alli Sparks; jewelry and fun stuff)

Vintage Junkies (Becky Hackman and Leigh Anne Wessel; antiques)

Cindy Claycamp (quilts, vintage fabrics and more)

Gray Green G (Carri Grimes; antiques, barn doors)

Country Dreaming (Stephanie Gardner)

Stuckwisch Pumpkin Patch (Craig Stuckwisch)

Idle Hands (Mike and Amy Cottrell; antiques, furniture, upcycle)

Barnlight Primitives (Jeff and Laura Fleetwood; antiques, vintage, upcycle)

Sugar Coated Candy (Sasha Norman and Kristina Charlton; funky chunky jewelry)

Debeau (Nita Hicks; antiques, furniture)

Pick a Piece to Paint (Karen Clark; antiques and furniture)

Claire Marie (Janice Farris; antiques, home decor)

Ramblin’ Rose (Terri and Mike Schleter; antiques, furniture)

Olde Black Crow (Kimbee Burchell; scarecrows)

Brownstown FFA (barn wood stars and trees)

Beautiful Chaos (Heather Grube and Julia Boyd; signs, furniture, Annie Sloan paint, painting demonstration)

Copper Rooster (Charlotte Foster; antiques, furniture)

Lin Montgomery (antiques)

Nancy Rogers (antiques)

Rebecca’s Daughters (clothing, jewelry)

Sweet Bee’s Studio (handmade bibs, keychains and other items)

The Yellow House (Tiffany Bauer, upcycles, one-of-a-kind creations)

Treasures Anew (Serena Newkirk, broken China jewelry)

Sweet Emotions Soaps (Amber Combs, soaps, lotions, bath salts and more)

Jubilee Flowers and Gifts (demonstration)

TJ’s Barbecue and Catering (Tom Jackson)

Back Porce Ice Cream (Frank and Carolyn Ira)

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.