PLAINVILLE — After a combined 75 years of teaching, Dennis and Shari Tucker were looking to begin a new chapter after retiring from Rooks County schools.

The couple had owned a small store and malt shop in Palco, but were looking for a more high-traffic area. A small building along U.S. Highway 183 in Plainville was for sale, and the Tuckers jumped at the opportunity.

“We thought this was perfect,” Shari Tucker said.

That was nearly seven years ago, and the Picket Fence, 804 S. Washington, offers a variety of gift and home decor items. The business has expanded to fill the original store and two small outbuildings with a variety of new items, antiques, homemade crafts and “gently used” housewares.

It is not a consignment store, as the Taylors enjoy sourcing their own merchandise. The couple also is working to add more Kansas “relics” and antique items.

The store has gained a local following and often draws travelers from the busy highway.

“We get a lot of people off the highway traveling through,” Shari Tucker said. “We’ve had people from all over the country. (Highway) 183 is pretty popular and pretty busy.”

Shopping for antiques and unique items had been a hobby for the couple, and they also make hand-crafted wooden decorations. The cottage-like boutique is decked out for fall, with many wooden scarecrows and pumpkins visible outside.

Several of the homemade items — also including American flags — were fashioned from old wooden pallets. The couple also has crafted birdhouses and benches, among other items.

Metal planters and yard decor also are popular, as well as a line of soy candles poured in Nebraska.

Shari Tucker also enjoys sewing and has homemade kitchen items such as tea towels, bowl covers and cooking aprons made of old flour sacks.

The business is seasonal, open each year from May to December. Business usually slows down during winter months, and it doesn’t make sense to continue paying utilities in the off-season, she said.

The store will, however, offer a line of Christmas items, which the Tuckers are busy preparing at home.

It is open for business from noon to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

The couple did some renovations to the property after purchasing it, such as a white picket fence surrounding the property. But they were careful to leave some of the original features intact. The older linoleum — and even a few cracks in the ceiling — actually add character to the antique store, Shari Taylor said with a smile.

“It’s kind of an old-time look,” she said.