Bethany Clough

New place to shop in Fresno: A & J’s New Fashioned Ways

A & J’s New Fashioned Ways is a little shop that’s big on transformations: Old furniture gets refinished into something new, and the owner’s skills from a previous job laying concrete has transitioned seamlessly into painting and building furniture.

The A and J in the store’s name come from owners Jeremy Abbot, and his fiancée, Ana Dominguez. The store is at 572 E. Olive Ave. in part of the former Bourbon & Taps that closed last fall.

It’s a small space, but it’s packed with lots of furniture and home decor. It includes chairs repainted a bright blue, dated side tables made modern with a bright red coat of paint and signs hand-painted by Dominguez.

Such upcycling is popular these days. Studio #340 and Urban Upcycle Designs repaint cabinets and furniture just down the street, for example.

But Abbot takes it one step further. After working with concrete for years with his family’s construction company, he’s brought those skills into the store.

He used to lay sewer and water pipes for new homes, work that involved building wooden forms for the concrete. He quickly learned how to refinish furniture and then began building or rebuilding some of it.

“It’s just like doing concrete,” he says.

Abbot repainted an old dresser and put in a sink, transforming it into a bathroom vanity. He built a farm table in the shop by adding existing legs to a slab of wood. And he turns old chair legs and bed posts into crosses with old glass door knobs at the center, symbolizing the door to heaven.

The other half of the business, Dominguez, paints furniture and signs. One says “Love” in large letters. Another says “God gave me you” with a photo frame attached with Velcro for a picture of a loved one.

“She’s good. She’s really good,” Abbot says of his fiancée’s painting skills.

Between the two of them, the pair have four children, ages 5 to 8. The hours of the store allow them to take the kids to school and otherwise be part of their lives.

The store is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

A & J also takes special orders for painting or building furniture. Abbot will also paint built-ins in people’s homes.

Block sales

It’s hard to believe, but block sale season in central Fresno is almost here. The spring series of sales attracts huge crowds starting early on Saturday morning in the neighborhood north of Fresno High School. Each weekend a different east-west street will host a sale, with yard sales generally happening east of Palm Avenue.

The Simpson, Yale and Cambridge avenue block sales are all held on Saturday, April 2 this year. The nearby First Congregational Church (or “the Big Red Church” as some call it) at 2131 N. Van Ness Ave. also holds a big yard sale at the same time.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough