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Southern Whimsicality takes customers back to yesteryear

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Sarah Ketterer operates Southern Whimsicality on Etsy.com, offering customers a piece of the past.

Sarah Ketterer’s shop on Etsy.com is splashed with lots of vibrant — even if a bit faded — color.

It’s full of special keepsake items from yesteryear: patriotic drinking glasses from the ’70s, board games from the ’60s and vintage wall hangings from the ’50s, to name a few. Ketterer calls the shop Southern Whimsicality, a unique take on the phrase “Southern hospitality.”

“My house is chock-full of all sorts of eclectic things,” she said. “I just love the vintage stuff so I started buying things, [especially] things that trigger a memory.”

She said she uncovers many of her finds at her father’s auction house, Twin City Auction in Soddy-Daisy. Since she works the concessions, she said she has the perfect vantage point from which to keep an eye out for the vintage novelties that antique dealers tend to overlook.

“My dad has always been a picker and I always just went out with him as a kid,” Ketterer explained. “It’s literally in my blood. I don’t see me ever not picking.”

Other than the auction house, Ketterer finds her merchandise throughout the region, including in many “hole in the wall” thrift shops located off the beaten path. She only chooses things to sell that she likes, which means she’s often sad to see favorite pieces go, she said.

“I have a hard time getting rid of things,” Ketterer admitted, describing one vintage fashion toy from the 1980s that she sold when she first started her business.

“It was mine and I sold it!” she lamented, adding that it was worth it to see how happy that particular toy made her customer.

Other customers have had emotional responses to her merchandise, she said. Some customers buy a favorite item they had as a child but haven’t seen in stores since.

Personally, Ketterer said she has a special affinity for vintage suitcases.

“I absolutely have an obsession with luggage,” she laughed. “I love what people use them for and how they repurpose them.”

Go back in time and shop Southern Whimsicality’s finds for yourself at etsy.com/shop/SouthernWhimsicality or follow the shop on Facebook at facebook.com/SouthernWhimsicality.