Mid the Pines Vintage Offers Online One-of-a-Kind Antique Finds
by Natalie Bencivenga
August 18, 2021
Growing up on a farm, Amy Hartzell loved that her home was filled with unique antique and vintage finds. To Hartzwell, these childhood memories surrounding items with history, character and their own unique stories to tell would stick with her on her journey and serve as the inspiration for her newest venture: Mid the Pines Vintage.
I chatted with Hartzell to learn more about her shop which just celebrated its one-year anniversary in July of 2021.
How did the shop go from a spark in your mind’s eye to reality? When COVID-19 hit, I started looking for a hobby. One day, my mother brought me an incredible multi-colored floral pottery vase — one of my grandmother's collectibles. I casually mentioned we should find similar items and sell them so we could connect people with memories. We spend many of our weekends exploring estate sales, thrift stores and antique stores; discovering many vintage and antique treasures. And while I am enamored with finding these gems, the time I spent with my mother and son exploring together were the greatest gifts!
Share the inspiration for the name: We named our shop, Mid the Pines Vintage, in appreciation of the magical and majestic pine trees that always signified strength and beauty on our farm. With every piece we buy, we see a little bit of magic. We hope that same spirit passes forward to our patrons.
Where can people find Mid the Pines? It is a woman-owned online vintage shop. Primarily, we use the Etsy platform, but also sell locally through marketplaces. We specialize in finding unique vintage and antique collectibles. Some of the items we sell are glassware, barware, hand-made quilts, hand-carved wooden décor, lamps, jewelry, art, books, records, newspapers, pottery, and sewing notions. We offer free shipping to the United States and Canada.
What sets your shop apart from the rest? I strive to provide an extraordinary and personalized experience for every customer. Customers can expect to receive their items in excellent vintage condition. If a customer is not satisfied for any reason, we make it right. We carefully inspect, clean and sanitize every item before they are sent. Items are packed with an abundance of care to ensure safe delivery. Each package also contains my trademarked hand-written note.
Is this a family affair?I own the shop. My mother Kathy, and my son Andrew, also work with me. The three of us love to source items together. Every item we find is purposeful and we purchase with the customer in mind. I manage all communications with our customers and assist with social media marketing. I also manage the shipping services. My mother cleans, photographs, and lists the items on Etsy. My mom also sews and refurbishes linens. She has such an eye for beauty. She will rescue beautifully hand-made linens that may have a few flaws and will transform them to find a second chance home. Andrew manages the social media ads and data analytics. He has such a natural knack of finding the treasures in every haystack! Both my mom and son are extremely handy and have the gift of craftsmanship!
How did you pivot from your previous work? One of the most challenging things about last year was the unpredictability. My full-time job is in the travel industry and due to the pandemic, my company was significantly impacted. Many factors of our business were not within our control. One of the wonderful benefits of having my own business is the ability to control the processes. I channeled my energy into trying to provide others joy during a time of uncertainty and hardship. We offered giveaways, sent special complimentary gifts, and surprise bonus items. It gave us immense happiness to make a difference to someone else.
I also decided to pursue my Ph.D. last year during the pandemic. It was a now-or-never mindset! Even through the trying times, there were many new ventures to celebrate! I started Mid the Pines Vintage while starting my doctorate program in Communications and Information Systems. I am just finishing my first full year and am now a doctoral candidate. I am looking forward to finishing the program in May of 2023.
Why is your store committed to being eco-friendly?Purchasing second-hand items is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Every item we purchase is gently used and an opportunity to salvage and recycle beautiful vintage items – reducing the refuse in the landfills. We also reuse and recycle 80% of our shipping supplies. I partner with a local boutique owner who saves her packing and shipping supplies so I may repurpose them for shipping my items. I have also used my local marketplace to find individuals or companies who are discarding large quantities of packing materials. Not only are these efforts a cost savings opportunity for our shop, but a tremendous way for us to be eco-friendly.
Do you have any favorite items? Throughout our journey, the three of us have developed an affinity for different items. My absolute favorite item is a pair of mid-century panther lamps. My mother loves all Murano glass and hand-made quilts. My son enjoys vintage books, historic newspapers and unique folk art. Having different favorites is such an advantage during our sourcing trips. It allows us to expand our knowledge about specific products and find really interesting things!
Recently, we worked with a stage designer in California to decorate a movie set with some of our vintage glass decor. We are looking for collaborators in Pittsburgh who work on local movie sets, office buildings and production houses to partner with to loan/rent/buy our vintage decor! This is another great opportunity to promote sustainable efforts in our local community, and we would love to collectively synergize!
What do you hope people take away when they experience Mid the Pines Vintage? Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” With every interaction we have with our customers, it is our objective to spread kindness, goodness and joy. We hope they find a little bit of magic from their purchase.