Less than six months after opening for business, Abbey Tilton has suffered a major setback at Abbey’s ShAbbey Designs, located at 1460 Phenix Avenue in Cranston.
In November, surrounded by family, friends and loyal customers, Abbey proudly cut the ribbon on Abbey’s ShAbbey Shed, which would be the new home for her business of vintage home decor, all of which she had worked hard on, from locating and purchasing the goods to upcycling them with sandpaper, paint and other special touches, before adding them to her inventory.
Abbey was also in charge of managing her business, from greeting the customers who came to the shop to budgeting her money for her purchases. Although that may sound easy for some, Abbey is a spastic quadriplegic who has the use of just one arm. Each and every item in her shop had her special touch and she had a perfect place to house and showcase all the work she’d done. The ShAbbey Shed shop itself had been a labor of love, built by Abbey’s grandfather and the president of her Board of Directors, Robert Ruggieri.
Last weekend, however, a storm consisting of brutal wind, rain and even snow ripped through the area, knocking out power and taking down a slew of trees in its path. Sadly, Abbey’s ShAbbey Shed was completely destroyed, a tree crashing through the roof and into the interior of the shop.
The noise and the damage brought Abbey and her family to tears.
“The sound this made during the storm scared us,” said Sharon Tilton, Abbey’s mother. “Abbey started crying right away and screaming, ‘It’s gone Mommy?’ We all cried together. It didn’t seem real or fair. She hasn’t even had the shop for six months yet. It was awful.” However, once the family got past the initial shock, they were thankful for their own safety, and resolved they would rebuild. “We promised her we would rebuild and we’d make it even better than before,” Sharon said. “We had friends and family show up the next morning to help us move all of the antiques and ShAbbey treasures out while Abbey and I kept our distance. It was too upsetting to watch.”
It is important to Abbey’s family, friends and customers that she be able to continue to work her business.
“Abbey has been devoted to this shop,” Sharon said. “She works so hard with her one good hand to clean, paint and sand her treasures. This shed was life-altering for her. It has made her a celebrity and has given her a purpose.”
A friend of Sharon has started a Go Fund Me fundraiser online (www.gofundme.com/help-abbey-rebuild-her-shop), which immediately brought in more than $1,000 of the initial $5,000 goal. However, there is still a long way to go, and Abbey’s family and friends are working hard to make Abbey’s dreams of having her own place of business come true all over again.