LEWISBURG — The Joy & Whimsy Depot held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 5.
The Depot is “a relaxation station allowing guests to escape from worldly pressures by spending a few hours in a stress-free environment with positive, encouraging people, art, and activities,” according to the venue’s website.
“This has been a dream of ours for ten years or more,” founder and co-owner Dave Wickham said. Wichkham started the Depot with his wife Jane after recovering from a bout with Parkinson’s disease.
“Parkinson’s couldn’t kill it; COVID couldn’t kill it; a broken ankle couldn’t kill it,” Wickham said of his dream of opening the Depot. “It was on life support a few times, but it’s here, and we couldn’t be happier to share it with the community.”
The Wickhams moved to Lewisburg in May of 2019.
“I remember saying to Jane, ‘This community has a different feel to it,’ not knowing at the time that we would end up here,” Wickham said of his first visit to Lewisburg.
Wickham thanked family and friends, volunteers, and local residents for helping make his dream a reality, as well as the artists whose work the Depot will display.
“They trust us with their art, and we take that trust seriously,” Wickham said. “I’m not sure we handled our kids as gently as we handle some of this art!”
Artists will “loan” their work to the Depot for a two-month period, according to Wickham, at which point the venue will host a sale.
“Sales are between the artist and the person buying – we’re just providing the location,” Wickham said.
Even more than art, however, the Depot is about a space to promote kindness, according to Wickham.
“We think the world needs a kindness revolution, and we think it can start here in Lewisburg,” Wickham said. “We want people to come here, feel that they’re treated kindly, leave with a smile, and then share that smile with someone else.”
Wickham said his hope is that visitors to the Depot will “spend an hour and a half, feel good about themselves and about the world, and then go out and be nice to people.
“Be nice to the waitress who’s having a bad day, or the person at Wal-Mart – kindness is a key component of this,” Wickham said. “There are times when it’s nice to go somewhere and escape – to just forget about the world.”
Lewisburg Chamber of Commerce member Tammy Holley expressed enthusiasm for the new venue.
“We’re very excited to have them here,” Holley said of the Wickhams. “They’ve been a blessing since the day they arrived in town.”
Lewisburg mayor Marsha Jones expressed similar sentiments.
“This is not only a dream for you, but for our community,” Jones told the Wickhams. “You come here, and then you leave just feeling at peace and wanting to spread that joy.”
The Joy and Whimsy Depot is open Friday and Sunday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish