Just days after Pawhuska’s newest antique store opened in the historic Benson warehouse on 5th Street, Comin’ Home was destroyed by fire. Although devastated by their loss, owners Ray Anne (Walker) Cocanower and Carrie Ann (Conley) Watters rolled up their shirt sleeves and resolved to rebuild their inventory with plans to reopen in another location.
“All that survived the flames were my Dad’s scale, a vintage hay rack, a few assorted plants, our store sign and the Osage Market sign,” said Cocanower. “Seeing our sign survive is the epitome of strong women. Carrie Ann and I will reopen.”
Comin’ Home quickly found a new location adjacent to Scott Roughton’s new family-friendly facility called ‘Grill 125’ on East Main Street in Pawhuska. “Scott came up with a great idea of having a door connecting our two businesses,” said Cocanower. “He thought the ladies, especially, might enjoy being able to do some antiquing while their menfolk watched TV.”
In restocking their inventory, Cocanower and Watters began scouring estate sales and auctions all around Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Texas.
“We found the neatest auction near Ottawa, Kansas,” said Watters. “The owners were selling contents from one of their four barns. It was absolutely unbelievable. There were three big trailers filled with items they had taken from the barn. The big stuff was placed around the trailers. We found a lot of really neat items for our new store.”
Cocanower interjected, “The only thing we couldn’t get packed in my car was a hay rake. This thing was wider than 8’. So, we came back with it on the top of my car. We found Carrie Ann’s signature wood-burning, green enamel cook stove at an auction in Dewey. It is so heavy that it takes four men to lift it. It’s beautiful with two warming ovens in the top.”
Much like their first store, Comin’ Home will feature a kitchen, dining room, bedroom and parlor. The integrity of the historic building is being preserved with the pressed copper ceiling. Much of the plaster has been removed from the west wall, exposing the natural brick. Corrugated tin panels from Doc Walker’s Veterinary Clinic will line the north and east walls. After removing layers of asphalt tile, the floor will be stained concrete.
“We commissioned a craftsman in Afton to make our bead-board check-out counter,” said Watters. “We also asked him to make a cabinet that resembles the back-end of a chuck wagon. Initially it will be used for display but most likely will be for sale. Anyone who has seen ‘Wagon Train’ knows what I am talking about. He also makes beautiful harvest tables from reclaimed barn wood. He stains the top and paints the legs with his home-made milk paint.”
“Barring unforeseen obstacles, Carrie Ann and I are hoping to open right after Thanksgiving. Eventually we will have a new store front that will compliment Scott’s. We also plan to install a screen door on the outside of the store which will give a hint of the treasures inside. We have lots of plans.
“We are excited to share our new inventory which includes antiques from as far away as New England. Some of the chairs we acquired belonged to a woman who lives in a salt-box house. We also found numerous pieced quilt tops that I am working on completing. Except for the binding, I have one almost finished. Carrie Ann and I plan to have a continual turnover of merchandise so there will always be some type of sale going on. Comin’ Home has a Facebook page that has photos of our remodeling progress. People can also sign up for our mailing list.”