Marrying Antiques and RomanceJan 01, 2023 09:57AM ● By Carolyn Straniere
Robin Davis literally fell into the event decoration rental business about ten years ago after her youngest daughter got married. With all sorts of wedding décor leftovers they no longer needed, Robin approached the woman in charge of the venue and jokingly mentioned she should buy them and rent them out to future customers. The woman retorted that maybe Robin should rent them out herself! After a “why not?” moment, Robin decided to do just that, and Romantique Collection was created.
“With the romance of marriage and my love of antiques I thought that was the perfect name, with just a tweak of the spelling,” explains Robin.
Her original shop in Mifflinburg, where she was living, drew customers from the central Pennsylvania area; the business quickly expanded to a second shop in Newport, near Harrisburg. Both locations are also wedding venues in addition to housing their collection of party supplies. One Barn Farm Collection, a homestead on ninety acres in Mifflinburg, is the perfect locale for weddings, family gatherings, and corporate events.
Robin’s other venue, The Barn at Riverbend, has become one of Harrisburg’s premier wedding spots, though when Robin and her husband Denny first saw it, the barn had been neglected for a number of years. The windows were broken, hay was still scattered around, and cobwebs were everywhere. “We looked past its dismal condition and envisioned a place for family and friends to come and relax,” Robin says. Two years of renovations brought that tired barn to life as The Brewery at Riverbend. Within a few years it morphed into The Barn at Riverbend, which now provides a beautiful setting for any occasion. “It’s just gorgeous,” Robin adds.
The success of both of her shops is credited to Robin’s background in interior design. Their collections range from elegant and upscale to rustic and romantic, with everything in between. “We have wooden cupcake stands that resemble slices of tree trunks, as well as beautiful ones with beads and crystals on them. Whatever you’re looking for, chances are we have it,” says Robin.
So how did this mother of eight find her way to Wellsboro and a new business venture here?
“One of my daughters lives here, so I’m familiar with the area. And, my oldest daughter and business partner, Lissa Hoprich, had just moved to town,” explains Robin. “It’s such a great community and we thought it would be an excellent place to open up another shop. There’s nothing like this around.”
After looking for the perfect property to house the décor collections, mother and daughter stumbled upon a Gothic revival home for sale two blocks from Main Street. They purchased the place and hung their Romantique Collection shingle at 28 Central Avenue in March 2022.
Lissa and her husband, Steve, both behavioral analysts in a previous life, moved to Wellsboro the summer of 2021, ready for a change of pace. She joined forces with her mom at Romantique Collection the same year. With a keen eye for design and trends, Lissa brings a fun new approach to their products. She can be found front and center helping clients achieve the style they want, while Steve is the one behind the scenes, handling the accounting and managing the website and inventory.
Weddings are a big part of what they do, but they also have party supplies for other festive occasions—with everything very accessible. “Romantique Collection has just about everything you can imagine for your party or gathering right here in town, and if we don’t have it, we know where to get it.” Robin says. “We want to make your special occasion as easy and stress-free as possible.” That’s music to a busy bride’s ears.
“We were excited to be able to provide the decorations for Wellsboro’s prom this past year, which included twelve arbors and countless drapings,” Robin continues. “We hope to do it again this year.” They’ve also worked with the Penn Wells Hotel, the Tyoga Country Club, Red Barn Hollow, all in Wellsboro, and at Creekside in Gaines.
“We’re your one-stop party rental shop for any and all occasions, whether that’s a graduation, retirement, baby shower, anniversary party, or birthday,” Lissa says. “No need to drive long distances for what you need.”
To help make it all happen, Lissa and Robin offer personal shopping sessions, offering clients the luxury of time to browse their extensive collections and supplies, and choose just the right décor to fit their style.
“It’s a one-on-one experience so you get our full attention,” Robin explains. “We’re here to help you curate the perfect setting for your event.”
They’ve got chargers, candlesticks, greenery, and florals to make tables uniquely beautiful. Need chandeliers or lanterns to set the mood? They can light the way. Want fun phrases or sentiments scattered around? They’ve got signage and chalkboards you can personalize. Have drinks that need to stay cold? Romantique Collection has Jack Daniels half whiskey barrels that can handle the job and look good doing it (they also have full Jack Daniels barrels for rent).
Arbors are a hot commodity in the rental biz, and Romantique Collection has a wide variety of styles and designs, from the traditional wooden archway to the ever-growing popularity of the two-door standing arbor. While they’ve been used as the focal point to exchange vows at weddings, Robin points out another use—photographs.
“The arbors are a beautiful backdrop for an amateur photographer who might not have the financial means to purchase one but would love it for their photo sessions,” Robin suggests. “In fact, so many of our pieces would make great props for a photographer.”
Just picture that!
Romantique Collection is open by appointment. For more information or to schedule a time, call (570) 439-3104. You can also find them online at romantiquecollection.com.