The store is nestled behind the fast paced life of the city, a block away from 10th Street. It is here in the quiet neighborhood on Upas Ave., behind other businesses that this store has found its unique location. The big store’s sign grabs your attention, wondering what brought the owners of I think I found it! to come up with that name.
There is a homey feel when walking in to the store. Beautifully decorated tables, with antique dishes and table cloths neatly placed with flower decorations hanging from a glass base. Dressers, tables and desks decorated as it would look like if it was decorated in someone’s house, and all items, for sale.
“People can see things on a shelf and can appreciate it for its form and their beauty,” said Manuel Ruben Cantu, who uses his creative style to come up with designs and looks for the store.
The store sells antiques, glassware, collectibles, furniture, quilts and jewelry — unique items that many people who love to collect can find. “We want to have a home feeling when people come to the store. We want people to appreciate the things for what they are,” he said.
The store’s eclectic mixture of art work with floral, antiques and thriftiness of the shop is what the owners of I think I found it! hope customers find appealing.
“Anybody can come in here with a dollar and find something that would be unique to them. We are not a major department store, but there is a little of everything,” he said.
He takes the lighting, the way people might see things in their home when they setup each section of the store. It is in this store, where they want to be known as a thrift shop, where Cantu exhibits and sales his work of art. Cantu has been creating pieces of art for over twenty years and also does flower work design.
“I don’t see this as work at all,” he said. “I think its fun to find junk and do something with it.”
His unique style of design has brought on many fans of his work and has displayed his work in McAllen’s Artwalk and in Dallas. His floral work has also been on display in Salt Lake City, Utah, at floral exhibits. Cantu’s is known for the unique style of design, taking pieces of old furniture and transforming them into unique pieces that when seen on display, one could not see what it was originally. He also specializes in outdoor rod iron pieces, welding sculptures and displaying them in the backyard of the store — which customers can rent and use for special occasions.
He gets inspiration from his children and from things he saw growing up through his grandmother and mother. He remembers his mother would find something and make it look beautiful. “They had the eye for making things look nice and so do I,” he said.
The need for recycling things and turn them into a different look also inspires him. Cantu’s imagination and creativity has kept the inspiration to create new pieces. On display outside of the shop is an old satellite dish that has been transformed into a bird bath with recycled mosaic, marble and tile. Close by is an outside metal lamp made from recycled mattress coils. Each piece created takes him different time to create, depending on the work and inspiration. Having had two different businesses before this one, customers still find him through word of mouth. “I have always been found through word of mouth and recommendations from others that have seen and purchased my work,” he said.
Cantu has converted the garage area of his home into a small workshop studio. He can be found working on woodwork, welding or his floral arrangements.
“I turn on my radio and work with paints and brushes or either do woodwork or welding,” he said.
Cantu also worked as a flower designer for three years and says working at floral exhibits is like working at a candy store. He hopes with this new opportunity of displaying his work at I think I found it! he will be able to take it to a level where he could be marketed not just locally but everywhere.
To see Cantu’s art exhibit on display, visit the store at 1104 Upas Ave., McAllen or call for more information 956-569-5384 or contact him directly at 956-249-4402.