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Friday, April 18, 2008

"We'll Make It A Nice Memento, Not Just A Brick"

Vicki Kalonick at Plaques, Etc. in Kingsport, says she's getting ready for the avalanche.

Not an avalanche of snow, but an avalanche of customers.

Dozens of people who received commemorative bricks from the Historic Riverview Apartments, will soon have engraved plaques, thanks to the handiwork of Brenda Carpenter, Mrs. Kalonick's right-hand person.

"Brenda's been here for 18 years, and she's a very talented person," Mrs. Kalonick says. "We are blessed to have her, I can tell you that."

The cost for a custom-lettered plaque is $3.00 a plate, and 10 cents per letter.

"We try not to go too heavy on the top of the cost, because the brick giveaway is a very worthy cause for the Alumni Association.. individual bricks are a nice memento for the people who lived in the Riverview Apartments all those years," she says.

"We just try to give special price breaks for special people."

"The material in the plaque is really a tough plastic," Mrs. Kalonick says. "You could use a nice black brass for it, but if you get anything like a dirt particle on black brass, it'll scratch it. So what we put on there, is something that will stay on it for years, that won't scratch up and look bad. That was kind of important to us, to give the people a good product. Ordinary brass will wear down, but these will stay pretty a long, long time."

"Brenda uses a laser to do the lettering," she continued. "The process is very quick, but professional. We have a machine that will etch the letters out, and cut the plaque out in a perfect rectangle. The design we picked out is something specially formulated for the brick, to make the brick and the plaque compliment each other."

Plaques Etc. is located at 904 East Center Street in the same building for almost 20 years. Store hours are 9 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday through Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday. The phone number is 423-378-3919.

By the way, historic bricks are still available from the demolition. They are stacked up alongside the wall of the storage shed in back of Douglass, behind the old bandroom. Those bricks are the only ones left, and we do ask that you take one and leave the others for friends and neighbors who haven't had a chance to get one yet.

The city has already cleaned up the stacks the bricks came from.. the demolition crew had delivered them to the grassy area, so they could be separated for individual bricks. That whole area is now being cleared and readied for the Douglass School building renovation, scheduled to start late this summer and early fall.

Many of our friends and neighbors are still shell-shocked about both the Douglass renovation and the Historic Riverview Apartment demolition.

"I hope when the new homes go up in Riverview, there will be a healing in the community," says Mrs. Kalonick. "It's a sad thing when your home is taken in the name of progress, even if that progress is sometimes for the better."