As I enter my 7th week of quarantine at my shop, I thought it would be a great time to write a blog and figured I should start by doing a proper introduction of myself. My name is Chris Kimmel and I am the shop owner of Five & Divine. I am also an interior designer, wife of Greg (my high school sweetheart), and mother of two - Ben 21 and Tori 17 (picture of us at the beach last summer!).
Interior Design has been in my heart and mind since I was a child, and I knew by 9th grade that this was my career path. I studied and received a BS in Interior Design from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (now Jefferson University) in 1989 and worked in commercial design for many years.
When my children were born, the idea of Five & divine began. I wanted to find a way to use my design skills and work in my home town of Wernersville, PA. My husband and I decided to buy this neat, old general store building in 2003. It was originally built in 1855. We had to do a fair amount of renovations, but I opened my doors Memorial Day Weekend 2004. Here we are opening day!!!
Five & Divine was created out of a love for the old 5 and 10 stores. The Five is all of the fun little stuff we need - cards, gifts, soaps, candles, etc. The Divine is all of the beautiful items for your home! I have always liked finding treasures - both new and old. It is so much fun, and I enjoy the process of finding as much as selling. Every time a customer comes in and ooh and ahhs, I just smile to think that something I found or better yet made, gives joy to someone else!The store has continued to evolve as I meet other artists and vendors, but things really changed about 9 years ago, when I found Annie Sloan! Since the beginning of the store, I had wanted to paint furniture, but did not like all of the prep work, so I often put the projects aside for another day, When I found Chalk Paint®, all of that changed! It opened up a whole bunch of new doors for me. I took training workshops all over the US (NJ, New Orleans, North Carolina and Maryland) and in 2016 I was very fortunate to travel to Oxford, England and spend a week with Annie herself and stockists from all over the world!!! Here I am with group in front of Annie's Shop!
What started out as a gift shop, has evolved into a home decor and DIY shop. I spend a lot of time talking to customers, teaching workshops, and selling paint. It is amazing how things always work out the way that they are supposed to be and because of this store, I have met and worked with so many wonderful people! And spending all of this time in quarantine has really given me time to think about how much I like it here and really has renewed the love for my store! Here is one of my favorite images a few years ago with some of the ladies that work here...Dorian Cola, Karen Wolf, Gail Burford, Shari Hafer and myself. This place really works best because we all bring our own artistic talents and personalities. I hope that you get a chance to stop and visit when things open again. Or just follow along here. I am excited to use this platform to share my experiences, tips and knowledge about Chalk Paint® and design, and of course to inspire you!
Chris E. Kimmel