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The Yellow Topaz Aims To Be A Gem Of A Store

By B.J. Drye The Stanly News & Press, Albemarle, N.C.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) New business owner Tonia Senn says she worked in many administrative positions through the years, but the thought of being an entrepreneur was always sitting in her mind. Now with the opening of "The Yellow Topaz" her dream is being realized.

The Stanly News & Press, Albemarle, N.C.

Tonia Senn said she has been dreaming of opening an antique and craft mall for 20 years.

On Wednesday her dream comes true, as The Yellow Topaz opens its doors at 10 a.m., with a ribbon cutting by the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce scheduled for 11 a.m.

Tonia said she worked in many administrative positions through the years, but the thought of being an entrepreneur was always sitting in her mind.

She said she tried to be a vendor at many antique malls, but she either lost money on the venture or the stores closed.

"When my husband and I went to a Mastermind meeting from Bright Ideas in Salisbury, it taught us to open our minds and to dream bigger," she said. "After a few weeks of attending those meetings and praying very hard about it, the dream of owning an antique and craft mall resurfaced. I also found out it was my husband's dream, too."

Tonia said the timing and location for her business is perfect, as the building is near the couple's home.

"When Jessica's Home Furniture left, I started looking at it more and more," Tonia said. "Then one evening last November, while my husband and I were coming home from dinner, I felt led to pull over and my husband and I prayed over this building.

We asked for God's will over this venture. The next day, my husband called the building owner. By the end of December, we were the new tenants."

Wiley "Chip" Senn III, her husband, added: "At every turn, the door's opened wider and wider. You can't say it's not the will of God. It's happened so easily. God has blessed us and hopefully we're going to bless others."

While it was most recently a furniture store, the spot alongside N.C. Highway 73 once housed Worldly Goods Flea Market.

"It did well for many years," Tonia said. "I have been by there and have shopped there and it always had customers throughout the day. I knew the place was a great location. It has plenty of traffic coming through since it is on Highway 73."

Tonia was once a vendor in Worldly Goods, in a back left room of the main building. Chip works with leather and stones and is also an auctioneer.

Besides the mall, the Senns will offer quarterly auctions, appraisal fairs and crafting demonstration classes.

The main section of the building was filling up Thursday, with more than 30 vendors expected. The couple will then finish work on the other winding sections of the building in hopes of filling it up.

One of the vendors setting up Thursday was Kelly Chapman, owner of Kelly's Cottage.

"We're hoping that they will add to the nice gift and antique shops in the area," said Chapman, who describes her business as "shaby chic."

"We hope it will be a good traffic area," she added as she and her best friend, Kelly Yandow, draped lace over tables and worked to finalize her booth.

"We want to strive to sell rare antiques, vintage and craft items," Tonia said. "We want customers to feel at home here while they shop. We will provide a rest area where shoppers can get a free cup of coffee and light snacks, then they can shop some more."

Like Chapman, Tonia hopes The Yellow Topaz helps "put Albemarle on the map as a destination place to bring in more visitors to the area."

As for the name of the business, topaz is one of the two birthstones for November, Tonia's birth month.

"This is a gem of a place," she said. "This is going to be a unique gem of a place to find."

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