Groton has a new “B&B” at 800 S. Main St, but it’s not what you might be thinking it is! You won’t be sleeping there or having breakfast, but if you like to buy or sell antiques or other vintage-inspired goods, it’s a place you may want to visit.
The “Bs” in the “B&B” stands for Barbara and Barry Siebe, who purchased the old Cornelius dairy farm’s barn in September 2017; turning it into a home for themselves, and a haven for the fruits of their passion – which is rescuing and repurposing used furniture, antiques, and vintage home décor.
The Siebes started their business, “B&B This to That” literally across the country when they lived in Modesto, CA. The story of their journey from there to here has some interesting twists and turns, but they both felt compelled to make Groton their home for different, yet similar, reasons.
Barbara (Bower) Siebe was born and raised in Groton at 115 Williams St, the home that is the Zirbel Funeral Home today, until the age of 12 when she moved to Florida. She attended Boston University, where she obtained her teaching degree and became a special education teacher.
In the meantime, Barry Siebe was serving our country in the United States Naval Services, from which he retired in 1997 after a 21-year tour of duty that included a stint aboard the USS John F. Kennedy.
The two had met and married 34 years ago, so the early years of their marriage involved the typical military relocation, which was what brought them to California. They settled there; Barbara working as a special ed teacher, and Barry as a city planner when his Navy service ended, but all the while they nurtured their shared passion for searching out antique and vintage “treasures.”
Eventually, Barry retired altogether, and at that point, the Siebes had grown their hobby into the “B&B This to That” business to the point where they were maintaining their home, their shop, and a warehouse to hold all they had acquired.
The primary way the Siebes found the treasures for their shop was traveling the country in their RV and trailer, picking things up as they went. One of their favorite annual road trips was the famous “120-mile Route 70 yard sales” from Memphis to Nashville, TN.
It was during that yearly excursion in 2017 when the Siebes heard that the temperature in Modesto would be 120 degrees by the time they returned home, and they began to dream about living in a place where things might be a little cooler.
Barbara had always kept in touch with her Groton childhood friend, Martha Gleason, and Barry had visited Groton at one time when they came back to see her. He said he never forgot how much he liked it here, so Barbara started looking at property on the internet. Almost immediately, the Cornelius barn popped up on her screen, and she showed it to Barry.
In short order, Gleason arranged a video walk-through of the barn for them, they fell in love with the 16,000 square foot building in July and made the trip to Groton in September to purchase it.
Excited though Barbara was to embark upon their new adventure, it took her until May of 2018 to feel ready to retire from her teaching career. Once she did, though, the Siebes sold almost everything they owned in Modesto, made their way across the country, and arrived at their new home in mid-July.Fast-forward to today and the Siebes are now ready to open their barn and property to hold a monthly flea market where other vendors may come to display and sell their own wares – something they have always wanted to do.It took a bit of patience to wade through the red tape to accomplish that end, but the Siebes were singing the praises of the Groton Town Planning Board and the Tompkins County Highway Department for all their help and kindness along the way.
They are now ready to host their grand opening of the “Vintage at the Barn Flea Market” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11. They plan to hold them every second Saturday of the month from April to August, and possibly September and October, depending upon the weather, as the space for vendors will be outdoors.
The Siebes welcome vendors of antique or vintage-inspired products or collectibles. They offer a 12-foot by 15-foot space for $30 or 24-foot by 15-foot for $50. Vendors would need to bring their own tents, tables, and chairs. Those interested may call or text Barry at (209) 402-2905 for more information and a vendor application.
Barbara said, “I’m looking forward to the opportunity for local artisans to show their wares and for the community to come and find their own treasures.” Barry said he feels a sense of pride because “We’re doing our part for recycling.”
Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-227-4922.
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