Family owned business in West Bottoms celebrates Christmas by bringing people together

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In the "oldest" part of Kansas City they're already celebrating Christmas and drawing thousands of people to join the party.

First Friday weekends have become a popular in the West Bottoms, and at the heart of it, is Restoration Emporium.

The lower case “re” sign on the 100 year old building of the family-owned business is somewhat understated.

“‘Re’ everything; repurpose, restore, refinish, renew. We find ways to incorporate that into the store," said Jeff Huff of the Restoration Emporium.

What was built to manufacture windmills and then tractors has been fully restored.

"We've taken it from empty and not used, to fully functioning and full of life," said Huff.

Dozens of venders share this enormous space. They take the old, left-over, abandoned, and spiff it up, redesign it, give it value and extend its life.

"The furniture we are working with has great bones. And we are saving it from the landfill and from losing its relevance, so we can bring it back to life," said Huff.

"We pray that they will find something that will bring them a minute of joy. ‘Oh my grandma had that.’ That’s the best part of what we do," said Chrysalyn Huff of the Restoration Emporium.

Even the gargantuan elevator of the five story behemoth has character. Its hinges can handle 17 thousand pounds.

“We are good with that. If we ever have that much on here that would be redic. That's way too much junk,” said Huff.

Jeff and Chrysalyn Huff come from families that collected junk and refinished it.  And Christmas is their favorite time of year.

“At this time of year more than anything is a time when we can find restoration,” said Chrysalyn Huff.

That’s why they start early and celebrate big, with about 10 thousand friends. They call "company."

“A lot of times during the holidays is when people come together. This year in our family we are clinging to that. We see it happen with a piece of furniture every day,” said Chrysalyn Huff.

Restoration Emporium; five old stories and one big family, connected by a slow, creaky elevator and designed to inspire, and re-everything.

Restoration Emporium is one of several businesses in the West Bottoms extending its hours way past First Friday weekends.

It even offers classes on Christmas crafting and furniture restoration.