FLINT, Michigan—Just look for a chalk sign and a chair holding a flower pot, and you’ll know you’re in the right place.
Welcome to Peace Barn, a small vintage shop located at 109 E. Third St. in downtown Flint owned by Michelle Cardillo, a 34-year-old mother of two, with another on the way, and a passion for Flint that inspired her to open this shop.
The open and airy feel of the shop comes courtesy of the large windows in the front providing plenty of light to explore. Many of the items you will find there have a particularly vintage quality.
There are paintings by Pauly Everett and jewelry by Lydia’s Vintage, both local artists, as well as vinyl records, jewelry, and homemade bath bombs.
There is also repurposed furniture, much of which is done by Cardillo herself—who sees her business as one part of a larger effort to rebuild and redefine the city of Flint.
Cardillo describes herself as “a bit of a gypsy.” She is a free spirit who loves studying Flint, with a special affinity for its architecture, history, entrepreneurs, inventors, and (especially) its underdogs.
She opened Peace Barn in April 2016 with a goal of attracting people downtown and supporting local businesses—and offering cool buys at an affordable price. Peace Barn for Cardillo is a business, but it also is so much more.
“There is a need in the city, and I want to give back,” said Cardillo, who is also studying communications at the University of Michigan-Flint and working part-time at Metro Community Development in Flint.
She is raising money for a local charity, designating the profits from an area of the store every month to help a local agency. She also soon will be starting classes to teach others how to repurpose furniture in hands-on workshops offered at a minimal cost.
The store, located in the Patterson Building, is open from 4:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays—as well as in the evening during art walks, hosted the second Friday of every month by the Greater Flint Arts Council.