The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Rosie Hoistion of Noblesville, who has owned Old Picket Fence for five years, will close the store at the end of February unless she finds a buyer. She’s having a Customer Appreciation event today and Sunday.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Rosie Hoistion of Noblesville, who has owned Old Picket Fence for five years, will close the store at the end of February unless she finds a buyer. She’s having a Customer Appreciation event today and Sunday.
Customers can always count on Rosie Hoistion to greet them with a smile and a kind word.
She has owned Old Picket Fence on the Hamilton County Courthouse Square for five years.
During that time, she’s refurbished and opened the lower level and painted and installed new lighting, thanks to her handy husband, Jeff. She’s also grown eight vendors to 20.
Old Picket Fence has sold everything from wringer washing machines to violins.
“Where every item tells a story.” That’s her slogan, she tells customers.
A few years ago, she added live old-time music with Legacy Keepers Music founder Janet Gilray on the second Saturday of the month. Gilray, of Noblesville, invites musician friends and customers to join her in “Antique Songs at the Antique Store.”
From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today (Saturday), it’s Gilray’s last time to play at Old Picket Fence. The store will close at the end of February unless Hoistion finds a buyer for her business. She is having a Customer Appreciation sale both today and Sunday at the store, with sales and refreshments. She’ll sell her inventory and display cases until March.
“I loved my 5 years of being downtown. Every day was a new adventure. You never knew who was coming through the door (and there were some characters),” she said. Hoistion also was surprised sometimes what merchandise the vendors were bringing in.
She was a secret picker for years -- even contacted by “American Pickers” TV show -- before the first-time business owner bought the business, where she leases booth space to folks selling their items and even has a couple of vendor booths of her own.
She’s truly enjoyed these years owning and operating the business in the Sowerwine Building. In 2017, she and her landlords celebrated the 150th anniversary of the building, more popularly known as Willits Department Store (1925-81) and located on the northwest corner of Logan and Ninth streets.
“My landlords, John Elmer and Mike Davis (Hamilton Properties), have been more than supportive, during this journey,” she said. “Like anything, being a small business owner has its ups and downs. Some of the downs are advertising costs, rent increases and parking.
“The parking situation is getting better with the addition of kiosks and more free parking Downtown,” she said.
Hoistion attributed her health as another reason for getting out of the business. In May 2019, while having a routine check-up, she said, “I was diagnosed with breast cancer …. Girls, get your yearly checkups,” she said. All is well now, after surgery and radiation treatment.
Hoistion was a preschool teacher for 18 years before coming to Old Picket Fence.
“I was born and raised in Watertown, N.Y., where the yearly snow average is 225 inches,” she said. Her husband is also from Watertown and served in the U.S. Marines for 23 years. They’ve been married for 11 years and share four grown children and four grandchildren.
“We are so glad we relocated to Noblesville,” said Hoistion, who even before she bought Old Picket Fence, was active in supporting Legacy Keepers’ efforts to inspire historical interest among children, serving as a storyteller and dressing the part.
Old Picket Fence has always been female owned, said Hoistion, who recalled when she came to town and discovered the store. In 2015, while on fall break, she stopped in the store to see owner Janet Hatmaker, “who told me she was retiring, and the business was for sale,” Hoistion said. “After several meetings, my husband, Jeff, and I said, ‘Let’s do this!’ I was lucky enough that Ms. Janet and Mr. Ottis Hatmaker were just a phone call away if there were questions or if I needed a day off.” (Yes, they would even come in and relieve her on the cash register.)
“When I’m not here, I like to listen to music and read, spend time with my grandchildren and go motorcycle riding with my husband,” Hoistion said.
She has been married for 11 years to her retired U.S. Marine, whom she has known for 40 years.
As far as selling Old Picket Fence, she is looking for “a local, downtown loving, fun and talkative person or couple.”
The store needs someone with a personality that fits with the store.
Hoistion said, “The Old Picket Fence is like an old-timey general store with customers stopping in to shop and chat.”
Gilray, who posted on Facebook photos of the store and her various live entertainment, said it will be sad to see Hoistion close the doors to Old Picket Fence close. “For years, she’s been making a difference in our community at the corner of Ninth and Logan streets in downtown Noblesville with a smile and kind words for thousands who come through her door.”
-Contact Betsy Reason at