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BFT Small Business Spotlight: Iron Star Trading Company


118 N Allegheny Street Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823


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This is the third article in a series spotlighting some of the local businesses in Bellefonte. Pop into one of these participating businesses- Alleycat Quiltworks, Bella Vino Wine Bar, Jake’s Cards & Games, Iron Star Trading Company, M&M Copy Service, Brother's Pizzeria, Pizza Mia, Elite Edge Athletics, Wireless Made Simple, Blonde Bistro, Bellefonte Art Museum or Bonfatto's- starting on Small Business Saturday, November 24th (and for a limited time after), to pick up your FREE BFT decal. It's our way of saying thanks for supporting all the independent shops and eateries that help keep Bellefonte so remarkably unique.

The list of tired Christmas gifts is long.

"A tie for dad. Some gloves for mom."


"Slippers for Grandma...again."

The poor dear has nine pairs of slippers in her closet already, you know. And they're all the same! And they're all from you!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know. It's the thought that counts and I get that and I agree with that and everything, but still. There's something exciting about being able to present someone you care about or love with a gift that actually makes their jaw drop or their eyes light up, isn't there. Truth is, giving holiday gifts that make people truly happy gives the gift-giver their own rush. Which is fine, if you ask me. Shopping is a tedious, even painful experience if it's even the least bit boring or dull. Heck, I'd often rather just watch fist fulls of my money blow down the street than hand it over to another box store check-out person with dead eyes, you know?

Which is why we need to talk about Iron Star Trading Company, me and you.

If you haven't been down to this Bellefonte gem of antiques and collectibles at 118 N Allegheny Street lately, or even ever, than I probably need to remind you of something.

Owner Vana Dainty isn't just dealing in items from the past, she's also helping to pass on their stories.

"We have a great selection of vintage teapots, children’s toys and books; lovely servers from days gone by," Dainty explains. "Both from the long ago days as well as Mid-Century modern. There are too many different items to list. But, it is a great walk down memory lane. Each item has its own story and people can add to the story."

Isn't that a wildly beautiful notion when you think about it? When you give someone close to you a holiday gift from Iron Star Trading you are also giving them a role in a story, so to speak. Each and every single thing that Dainty offers in her shop is old. Or oldish. Or at least, it isn't brand new, that's for sure. And so that means that for every antique button or old Christmas decoration that she has on display; for every rugged steamer trunk or elegant tea service that have ended up in her care: there is a long and winding tale that has led it there.

Now, what exactly IS that tale? Well, I suppose that's where our imaginations must come in. Knowing the past is a slippery slope. Likewise, knowing the past whereabouts of inanimate objects is often easier said than done. But that, you see, is part of the charm of shopping for wonderful things that have been owned before. You stand in the middle of Iron Star and you look around you and- if you allow it- if you believe in the magic of the past, and if you believe in the potential that that magic has to carry over to the here and now- then you can quite easily be swept away but the swelling reality from with that every single thing you are looking at has been held and used and glanced upon and loved and possibly even lost before.

Maybe many times.

Maybe even more times than that.

I don't know about you, but I really like that notion. This idea of wrapping gifts that have been wrapped before, perhaps on snowy evenings in faraway places, years ago, centuries even: that's an idea worth exploring in this day and age when everything seems so fast and disposable and bound to break.

Small Business Saturday is happening on November 24th and it's a vital day for Bellefonte shops and businesses like Iron Star Trading Company. Vana Dainty is a student of history and as such, she recalls a simpler time when people flocked to small lively towns like this one to buy holiday gifts and groceries from independent shopkeepers like her. Times are changing everywhere though. These days, Bellefonte is the exception to the norm with all of her small businesses. And yet, Dainty can't deny that the old days are gone.

"Do you think holiday shoppers come to Bellefonte to experience things the way they used to be," I asked her recently,"...back when holiday shopping meant folks moving from small shop to small shop on the same street?"

I kind of already knew the answer, I guess. But deep down I was hoping for a different response. It didn't come.

"No I don’t," she reflected. "I believe most holiday shoppers go to the big retail stores. It would be nice if that could happen again, however life runs at a much faster rate now."

That's both poignant and sad. And worst of all: true. Which is why the chance to shop for gifts from the past, complete with their own 'stories', seems like such a perfect way to slow time down just a little bit this holiday season, you know? From gorgeous antique furniture to intriguing art, with  rows of books and china and tiny magic things that you look at once and just KNOW it will make a certain someone you've been shopping for smile when they open it, Iron Star Trading Company's got something for everyone on your list.

Don't take my word for it though. Do it for yourself. Make that gift-giver's heart flopping around down in your Grinchy chest start thumping like it hasn't thumped in a long while. Buy some cool old stories for the people you love this year. Give them a piece of the past and watch them light up.

You'll even save some of your hard-earned cash.

"I will be running a promotion where I will have a bowl filled with discounts," Dainty explains. "If you make a purchase you can draw out your discount. The smallest discount will be 10% and there will be a larger, 50% discount as well"

Plus, for a limited time only, beginning on Small Business Saturday, November 24th, and continuing while supplies last, you can also get yourself a BFT sticker just for popping in. It's's way of saying thank you to each of you who supports the many incredible small businesses here.

Happy Holidays.

Shop local.


Iron Star Trading Company
118 N Allegheny Street, Bellefonte, PA 16823

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