FAIRBORN — While some of the art and products displayed at the Secret Chamber House of Oddities and Artwork may send chills and shivers down the spine, owner Cherish Harrell-Brooks wishes for her business to be a “safe space” to encourage all who walk into the door to be themselves.
“We’re not a Halloween store,” she said. “We may be influenced by the horror community, but we’re not putting it away Nov. 1 … Halloween is not a holiday — it’s a lifestyle.”
Harrell-Brooks shared that welcomes those who have not been accepted, such as those who create the “weird art,” and embraces them with open arms. As a child, Harrell-Brooks became interested in re-purposing items that had been discarded. It became her own art.
“It’s like going from trash to treasure,” she said. “Bringing new life to things.”
Harrell-Brooks was inspired by Mike Foy growing up — which was a big reason why she decided to make Fairborn the home of her business. She now embraces the feeling of community downtown Fairborn has to offer, adding that each business owner looks out for each other. Harrell-Brooks said she typically is on her own inside the shop, but owners of Bookery Fantasy will swing by to give her a break and help her lift heavy items.
“It took everything in me to be brave and do it,” she said of opening her business. “This is my everything.”
While the City of Fairborn is getting into the spirit of the spooky season with its 8th Annual Halloween Festival Oct. 18 through Sunday, Oct 20, The Secret Chambers House of Oddities and Artwork will be celebrating its second anniversary with donation-based special activities of its own. It began with tarot card readings by Marta Mari inside the shop Oct. 18, and fire and belly dancers Lily Datura, Scarlett Fire and L.C. Mercy. performing outside the facility.
The two-year-anniversary celebration will continue Saturday, Oct. 19 through the remainder of the weekend.
The Secret Chamber House of Oddities will host Authors Yvonne Tibbs from noon to 4 p.m. and JJ Philips from 4-7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19 as well as a variety hula hoop dancers including Ashley Marie, Meg Elyse and Katie Goralski beginning at 7 p.m.
Wrapping up the anniversary events Sunday, Oct. 20 will be a pour art demonstration at 1:30 p.m. by Meg Shepard.
Secret Chamber House of Oddities and Artwork is located at 17 W. Main Street.
“I hope I’m here for awhile,” Harrell-Brooks said, adding that an oddity shop can be considered a niche. “In the meantime, I hope I’ve opened the eyes [to customers] that it’s okay to be weird — and still feel accepted of it.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.