SPRINGVILLE — To Patty Hulce, her business is a home of renewal.
"When people consign their things here, nothing is wasted," she said, standing behind a table that serves as the front counter of the Wandering Wardrobe, 511 S. Main. "I'm selling things that somebody would throw away."
A dealer in the discarded, Hulce helps breathe new life into racks of forsaken attire.
"A little bit less wear and tear on the world," she said.
After visiting consignment shops in Salt Lake City, Hucle shelved a long career as a paralegal to open a store of her own in 2000. Her old job was one that forced her to stitch herself up each and every night.
"Bad stories," she said. "Things I don't want to remember. Saw pictures I don't ever want to remember and saw the worst of humankind, I think."
And many of the people she helped didn't want to remember her.
"You're dealing with people who don't want to be there, but somebody killed their husband or whatever," Hulce said. "With the exception of maybe two of all those clients that I helped, I don't hear from any of them … ’cause they want to forget that part of their life."
Hulce tailored a new beginning on a search for something "that was creative and that was happy." It turned out to be a fresh start for her and a new lease on life for the historic house where she planted her business — a building she calls "my baby."
She may not live here, but over the past 18 years, Hulce has come to call it home.
"It was built in 1900," Hulce said with a hint of pride. "The gentleman who built it was named Patrick Ward. He was sent here by the railroad. I've researched his family and researched him, and I know a good deal about him."
Amid the creaky floors and old woodwork, Hulce put down roots — which is why she's finding it so hard to say goodbye. She sold the building and closed on Jan. 15. She had hoped to remain open until the end of the month, but according to the store's Facebook page, the new owners are anxious to begin their new journey. The new owners, according to Hulce, will turn the home into a bed and breakfast.
"We're going to get a truck and a trailer and just sort of head out and see where we end up," she said.
With Hulce closing the doors of her shop, she'll now be looking for adventure on the open road along with her husband. But unlike her life as a paralegal, there's one thing she'll be taking with her.
"The friendships I've made," she said tearing up. "I always cry when I talk about it. People who come in here are my friends, you know. I know probably more about their lives than a lot of their closest friends do."1 comment on this story
Maybe it's been the friendly old home that helped build those bonds — or maybe it's just been Hulce. But either way, she says many have left this place feeling just a little bit mended.
"It's a safe place," she said. "It's a respite for a lot of people."
Whether it's an old dress, a home from 1900, or the life of a paralegal, every end is a new beginning. And thanks to this place, Hulce won't be starting over alone.
"I learned a lot about human nature," she said. "Most people are good and want to help."