"It'll be hard to leave, but change means we're evolving," Hess said. For Hess, the world traveler in search of the unusual and unique, that evolution means a trip about eight miles down the road. Hess will be closing up the Oil City shop after hours on Sunday with plans to be open again in downtown Franklin in the beginning of November.
The new shop will be located in a tiny little building next to the Franklin Library on 12th street.
The new store will still be an eclectic tight maze where every square inch is filled with something to see. A mishmash of items from boxes of human teeth to honey his brother makes, old photographs of people he cannot identify that he places earrings on to sell. Even a buck's head mounted to the wall has bling dangling from his ears and a hat on its head. Right next that is a steampunks out ram's head. If you look up you struggle to find the ceiling with thousands of items from necklaces to taxidernmed waterfowl with wings spread.
"Every drawer has something it," Hess said pointing a wall of cabinets.
Though there doesn't appear to be an organisational plan, Hess says he has only lost a short list of items that he is sure will turn up as he catalogues for his move.
Yes he plans to catalogue his inventory before he moves. Roughly.... oh hell there is now way of telling how many thousands of items he has crammed into that small space.
One thing he won't miss and looks forward to in his new location. A simple life luxury many take for granted - indoor plumbing. The new location will allow himself and guests a restroom, something he hasn't had in these seven years. It will also offer him a small place where people can try on some of the vintage clothing he carries. Hess said at his current spot he has a customer who would try on clothing inside his store while he would stand guard at the door. Though he loves telling the story he was excited to be able to offer his customers a little more privacy.
He said he doesn't sell much clothing at the current location but will have more on display at the new location.
Hess is very familiar in Franklin. He is very active with the Barrow-Civic Theatre, acting and directing/producing many performances there. His roles are as curious as his shop, playing everything from a candelabra in "Beauty and the Beast" to Sebastian in "Little Mermaid" to Willy Wonka in the show of the same name. He loves directing and costuming, which is evident in his shop as he decorates in way that can best described as distinctively quirky.
"It's an art installation really," he said.
"It's offended and intrigued," he told them.
Hess pointed to a little box of hair in his shop. He said it was important for someone to save the hair and it is his mission to save it too and, if possible, find someone else who will also think it is important to save. "That's my job - to find a caretaker for that object. To put a person in touch with something they can have an emotional connection. That's why I have this business."
He knows his store has oddities and that is part of the store's overall charm. A person wanting a fine vintage necklace, a Halloween decoration, a doll, old steampunk glasses, old dental equipment, a human skull or a South American fertility idol - it's quite likely somewhere in Hess's store.
And if it's not he will be intrigued why it is not and likely try to locate one or more for you. And in doing so he'll end up with another story to tell.
Hess said the current location has been wonderful over the years, but he's looking forwarded to something new.
To visit the current location one last time, you'll have Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. or "As long as people are there," He's said. "That's a better answer."