Community supports beloved Acworth antique shop

An old-fashioned record player beside a rack of vinyl records

The support from their city motivated the owners to find a new location just a mile from their original building.

by Tyler Russ

Lisa Mack was at a loss for words when she heard the news. After eight years, she would have to find a new place to set up her antique shop.

“I was devastated honestly, it was just terrible,” Mack said. “We spent so long to become a piece of this community and were doing so great; it was just sad.”

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The Success of Two LiRu

Two LiRu was just one of the antique shops Lisa Mack had run over the years, but it was becoming the most successful. Located on Main Street in Acworth, Mack and her business associate Ryan Blankenberger had built a reputation for selling a wide array of interesting items in their shop. The store was filled with a collection of vinyl records, vintage clothing, antique collectibles, taxidermied animals, sports cards, Halloween-themed memorabilia, and more.

Antiques have become more popular in recent years, especially vinyl records. A 2022 report by the Recording Industry Association of America revealed that vinyl records continued to grow in sales for the sixteenth consecutive year. Records also accounted for 71% of the total sales for physical copies of music.

Jeff Chase, the Director of Downtown Development, Tourism and History Preservation for the City of Acworth, said that Two LiRu’s collection of vinyl records, vintage clothing, and antique collectibles made them a staple in Downtown Acworth.

“Two LiRu offered an eclectic mix of antiques and collectibles and gave people visiting downtown a really cool retail place to explore,” Chase said. “They have been a retail anchor in the Historic District for nearly a decade, and pulled foot traffic to that end of downtown.”

Kollin Washington was one of the many customers who came for their collection of vintage clothes. He said he would stop by whenever he had the chance to check out the new pieces Mack had brought into the store.

“My favorite aspect of their store is the clothing selection,” Washington said. “I’ve found some of the most offbeat and rare pieces in my wardrobe at Two LiRu.”

A New Challenge

Things were looking up at Two LiRu, when in June of 2023, Mack and Blankenberger learned that they would be losing their lease. The owner wanted to sell the building, leaving the shop with 60 days to find a new location.

“It took us some years to build it up and become a destination,” Mack said. “We were thriving, so it just hit us really hard. There’s not many buildings big enough for us in Acworth.”

Because of that, Mack was unable to find a building similar in size to their location on Main Street. The building they decided on ended up being nearly 8,000 square feet smaller, meaning they couldn’t bring a large portion of their inventory to the new space. They had to liquidate whatever they were unable to move to the shop.

“It was sort of a mountain-sized task,” she said. “The place was just packed full, so we started by putting everything we weren’t taking on sale for 30% off and went from there. It was a tremendous amount of work to move everything into the new location.”

Though it was not easy, they succeeded and were able to move into their new shop, Acworth Vintage and Vinyl. The real shocker for Lisa and Ryan came from the community’s response to their situation.

The Community’s Support

Once the news of their closing started to spread, people from Acworth began to show their support by coming into Two LiRu. They offered condolences to the owners, thanked them for creating this shop Acworth had come to love, and helped the liquidation process by purchasing whatever caught their eye.

Mack said the response to their closing sales was phenomenal, allowing them to sell most of the items they would not have space for in the new building or in storage. She said she was shocked to see how many people came into the shop and said they would miss it.

“I was very touched,” she said. “People expressed how sorry they were and all day I would hear how our store was their favorite place to shop.”

Kollin Washington was one of those customers, as he visited after being told by a friend that the store would be closing. He said he had to go one last time and speak to the owners before they moved out.

“It was shocking to see them go,” he said. “Thankfully when I went in, they told me the store would be moving down the road which kept me from being too upset. Ryan has always shown me love when I visit, and Lisa is very inviting and helpful if I ever have a question.”

It was Acworth natives like Washington who motivated Lisa and Ryan to keep their shop in the city. While it is a challenge to find the space they need to run their shop, they said it’s worth it. Mack said that besides hunting down antiques for the shop, her favorite aspect of the business is interacting with her customers.

“I know it sounds hokey, but I really do mean it,” she said. “You get a chance to vibe with people who you normally wouldn’t meet, and it’s a really cool thing. Look at me, I’m a 62-year-old lady sitting in a record shop, I get to talk to all sorts of young people.”

Looking Forward

Jeff Chase is optimistic for Acworth Vintage and Vinyl’s future, even with a less ideal location. He said that the high quality items they sell along with their interactions with customers has led to a successful business.

“Foot traffic in their new location will be a challenge,” Chase said. “But, with the customer base that Lisa and Ryan have built, I think they can make it!”

Mack said that while she misses the size of her old shop, that the simplicity of their new location allows her to spend more time with customers instead of organizing, decorating, and moving items within the store.

Even though Lisa is still on the lookout for a larger building that can compete with the size they once had with their two-story shop, Mack said she has no plans to leave Acworth.

“I love Acworth; it’s a wonderful little town,” Mack said. “There’s a great sense of community. We built the shop up here. This is my home and I want to stay.”

Tyler Russ is a Journalism student at Kennesaw State University. The Acworth native spends much of his free time listening to music, reading, and writing, especially poetry. He has worked for the Sentinel at Kennesaw State University for the last two years.

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