|Two things influenced the naming of Janet and David Buford's shop on Schiller Street: their move back to Missouri four years ago to be near family and the merchandise they carry that reminds folks of being in Grandma's house. "Both reasons seemed to make sense," said Janet.
Halfway between Columbia and Ballwin where family members reside, Hermann was a good place for the Bufords to settle. After visiting here several times, they found the town to be charming and the people friendly and helpful. "Certain places and certain people reach out and touch your heart. This was one of those places. It was as if it were planned," Janet said. It also presented a good opportunity for Janet to stop working for someone else and start working for herself. She had worked in retail merchandising with large companies for many years.
The building that houses Back Home Again was built in 1878. Most locals remember it as the home and studio of a photographer named Schuster, who lived there during much of the first half of the 1900s. He is best known for the black and white photos he took of historic landmarks and made into postcards.
The Bufords have done about 90 percent of the work of restoring the building and setting up the shop. Janet claims that she has many of the ideas, but it is David who keeps her on track. "I may have the imagination, but he has the fundamentals," admitted Janet. Together they have created a warm and inviting shop that opened for Maifest 2004.
Popular items carried at Back Home Again include imports for visitors who want to take home something German from this German community. Traditional German salt-glazed pottery made in the Northeast is a popular item. The shop sells soy candles to benefit local soybean farmers. There is a large selection of oil paintings, wall décor, and many decorative accessories. Quality reproductions that include artwork and furniture also are available, . . . "those little objects that will set a room," explained Janet. She will assist with decorating ideas if someone needs help pulling things together. She said, "Sometimes you just need another person's perspective."
A women's boutique, featuring jewelry, accessories, soaps, and bed and bath items that may not be available in other local shops, is the newest addition to the shop.
Candle Houses that are handmade in Lithuania are unique to Back Home Again. Some are reproductions of German structures. Each can be lighted with a tea candle and scented with special oils. These houses are handmade from clay specially dug from the northern part of Lithuania, and they take about a week to complete.
The story of the Candle Houses is interesting. In 1944 when the Soviet Army moved into Lithuania, many hundreds of young men went into the forest to fight the Soviets. This guerilla war continued until 1956. The men needed supplies during their struggle for independence and many village people were willing to help, even at the risk of death. They would put a candle in their windows to show that food was available at this house. Thus, the Candle House became a sign of solidarity against their oppression.The Bufords are committed to Hermann, which is apparent because they have purchased a second historic building that they are restoring for their residence. "It's a great little community and I find it wonderful. We're in here for the long haul," said Janet. What Janet and David particularly like is the Norman Rockwell view looking from the shop down Schiller Street.
Back Home Again, at 307 Schiller St., is open seven days a week. Hours are Monday and Tuesday from 11-3 and Wednesday through Sunday from 10-4. For more information, call 573-486-0581.