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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Smith/News Tribune Marla Nilges, at left, is seated with her sister-in-law Debbie Sawyer, middle and her mother-in-law, Rita Nilges at the Cotter Pin Cellar at 1500 E. McCarty St.

Over the past 20 years, Cotter Pin Cellar has grown from a small backyard business selling Fiesta dinnerware to a large home decor, furniture and antique shop that now occupies 2,500 square feet on East McCarty Street.

Cotter Pin Cellar opened at its new location at 1500 E. McCarty St. this weekend, though a grand opening celebration is planned for June 5. That will give them time to adjust to the new store and work out any kinks, said Marla Nilges, who owns the business with her sister-in-law, Debbie Sawyer, and Sawyer's mother, Rita Nilges.

It started in a little cargo trailer on Marla Nilges' property.

"People would come to our house and we would go to shows and sell Fiesta dinnerware," Marla said.

The family always loved the Fiesta line but struggled to find unique pieces in Mid-Missouri. Now, Cotter Pin Cellar has the largest selection of Fiesta dinnerware in Mid-Missouri, with an entire (colorful) space in the new shop dedicated solely to those products.

That small original business has expanded to include upcycled furniture and home decor, as well as providing Amy Howard at Home paint products.

"You can't just survive on one product alone," Marla said.

Marla also owned Classroom Connection, which had occupied the East McCarty Street space until earlier this year when it closed after 16 years. When the closure was announced late last year, the Nilges family also noted the plans to continue using the building they own by moving Cotter Pin Cellar into it, after doing some cosmetic renovations.

Those renovations included using pieces of an old family farm inside the store, with pieces of wood and tin from the old structure evident on the walls throughout.

With the move came the opportunity to again expand Cotter Pin Cellar, as the previous space was a 400-square-foot garage that could only operate by appointment. They now offer regular store hours, as well as some vintage items and antiques.

"We've had lots of requests for that," Marla said about the addition of regular store hours.

Everything that Cotter Pin Cellar has expanded to include is meant to fit right into Marla's motto: "Recycle. Refurbish. Rehome." She said she hopes the space itself provides inspiration for people to see how pieces can be repurposed, noting even the chandelier lighting hanging in the shop is recycled.

Cotter Pin Cellar also offers bridal and gift registries and has previously done Fiesta bridal showers, Marla said. Eventually, the store will even offer painting and craft classes, with a small workspace set aside for that purpose.

Cotter Pin Cellar is open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. To learn more about the business, check out cotterpincellar.com or follow them on Facebook.

Know of any business happenings around Jefferson City? Let us know at [email protected]

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