Some of what's available at Memories and Dreams Crafts and Collectibles in downtown Houston.

A store offering used and antique items recently opened in Houston, but this one is arguably different than any other in the area.

At Memories and Dreams Crafts and Collectibles on Grand Avenue, co-owners Don Collins and Dawn Kaufman offer several products and services in addition to the standard fare.

“This isn’t just a store with booths,” Collins said. “Even the phone company representative didn’t want to list it as a flea market. He wanted to list it as a boutique.”

“He said it wasn’t a flea market,” Kaufman said. “It’s more upscale.”

A long-time resident of Houston, Collins also drives a service route re-stocking “claw” machines placed at retail locations by a company based in Colorado. He owns professional grade knife-sharpening equipment and will sharpen blades at the new store.

“It’s the exact same set up used by the guys who sharpen knives at Bass Pro,” Collins said. “I’ll do any type of knife – hunting knives, kitchen knives – I can do pretty much anything. If I’m here, I’ll do it on the spot. If not, people can pick them up first thing in the morning.”

Kaufman, a graduate of Licking High School, has significant experience with selling antiques, having run multiple booths at stores in the past. Collins, a Houston High grad, said he enjoys finding items to stock some of the new store’s booths, and also likes tinkering with building wood products.

“It’s fun to go out picking and looking for the stuff,” he said. “And Dawn absolutely loves doing this. She dreams up stuff, and I’ll either build it or go out and find it.”

After her daughter was killed early last year in an automobile accident, Kaufman became involved with Annie’s Hope, a charitable organization based in St. Louis that assists people grieving from the loss of a loved one. Memories and Dreams is now a donation station for Annie’s Hope, and proceeds from the sale of donated items will help youth attend its summer camp.

“Anything that’s donated will have a special code on it, and 100 percent of the money from that will go to Annie’s Hope,” Kaufman said. “I’m a very big supporter of this organization and camp, and we would really like to reach out to this community about it. It’s very near and dear to my heart.”

“We won’t take a cent from items we sell for the cause,” Collins said.

Memories and Dreams is also outfitted with a section dedicated to scrap-booking, and plans include perhaps offering “retreats” in partnership with an area motel or two.

“Scrap-booking is very popular, and there’s really nobody around here doing that,” Collins said. “It’s hard to get supplies here, and Dawn has a supplier lined up who will regularly send things to us.”

“I was really into retreats and it’s something I love to do,” Kaufman said. “We got the idea to do this by hearing people in the community saying there’s a need for a scrap-booking store here.”

“All I know is I came home from work one day and she said ‘I need this wall gone because I’m going to build a scrap-booking area,’” Collins said. “So by midnight that night, she had a scrap-booking area.”

“We’re hoping to get some lockers in the back and really make this work,” Kaufman said.

Memories and Dreams will also soon be an eBay drop-off location. Collins and Kaufman will take in a customer’s used item, conduct research to determine its value, post it on the famous online shopping site, and take a percentage of the sale as a handling fee (eBay also takes a percentage).

“If somebody has an item they feel is valuable, this gives them an opportunity to get it sold,” Collins said. “We’ll take pictures of the item, and post it at auction for a designated time, which is usually about a week. The option is there to not sell, too, if an item doesn’t bring what someone is expecting. But some people make a lot of money selling on eBay.

“Now, I want to make it clear we’re not antique appraisers, but we will do the research. I’d like us to eventually get to the point where we can appraise antiques. That’s a dream I have for one of the possible expansions here.”

On top of everything else, Memories and Dreams carries many items related to Pinterest projects, and has a large selection of fabric.

The store still has openings for potential booth operators, and even offers consignment sales under the right circumstances to people who don’t want to go all-out in a booth.

“This is exciting for us,” Collins said. “This has really been a labor of love, and we hope the public will enjoy it.”

Memories and Dreams Crafts and Collectibles (at 103 S. Grand Ave. in downtown Houston) is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call 417-967-7102.

The charitable organization supported by owners Don Collins and Dawn Kaufman of Memories and Dreams Crafts and Collectibles in Houston is Annie’s Hope, a community based nonprofit entity based in St. Louis and founded in 1997 dedicated to providing comprehensive support services for children, teens and their families who are grieving the death of someone significant in their lives.

Web address: http://www.annieshope.org

Phone: 314-965-5015

Email: annieshopekids@aol.com

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