Former Delaware State University biology professor Dorene Petrosky dreamed of opening up her own shop off West Loockerman Street in downtown Dover shortly after she retired in 2002.
But Petrosky faced a few significant obstacles that set her back a couple of times. Firstly, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and that took a couple of years to recover from. Secondly, her husband took ill with leukemia and passed away, and that took some time to recover from. Thirdly, she battled pneumonia just when she was in the home stretch of following through with her goal of finally opening a shop in fall 2012.
Once again, Petrosky pushed through and found an ideal location on South Governors Avenue that was a little cheaper than West Loockerman Street but just off that iconic street's junction with South Governors. And she was right by the Dover Fire Department, a landmark most people were familiar with.
Once Petrosky got through the final hurdles, A Touch of Glass held a grand opening on Dec. 7, with Mayor Carleton Carey Sr. there to help with the Downtown Dover Partnership's ribbon cutting. Downtown Dover Partnership Coordinator Ed Perez suggested that date because it was First Friday, when more people were downtown.
Petrosky combined her dream of entrepreneurship with her love of glass as a starting point for her business.
"I always liked glass. My mother collected glass. Two grandmothers collected glass," Petrosky said. "My aunt collected it. So, I was always around this pretty glass. Eventually, I started collecting by going to auctions and estate sales, and then I inherited a lot."
Those collections would form her first inventory for A Touch of Glass, including Depression era glass, uranium glass that glows bright green in the dark, dinnerware, glassware and pitchers, among other things.
Interspersed in her gift shop were knickknacks, dolls, a Christmas at Graceland replica — complete with a mug of Elvis Presley on the box — and even a pair of old water skis that someone might need to complete their décor, Petrosky said.
She also sells some items on consignment, getting a cut on each sale.
"Everyone who comes in says it looks beautiful," Petrosky said. "We've had some really good sales and have been able to find what people want. The other day a woman wanted a Buddha and we had a little Buddha statue.
"It's A Touch of Glass because we offer a wide variety of items at a wide range of prices," she said.
Petrosky's shop is a family business that employs both her son and daughter-in-law, David and Christina, who help manage the shop and serve as the primary buyers at auction.
"We've got a little something for everybody," David Petrosky said. "Anybody can find something that fits their décor scheme or we have some high-end collectibles for the collector. It's all quality stuff. We're not Forney's, obviously, but we have lots of gift type items. It's an alternative to high-end, big box stores."
Page 2 of 2 - Petrosky also sells A to Z Fashions Accessories, created by her granddaughters, Allyssa, 10, and Zoe, 9. Their line includes featherhead bands, hair bands and jewelry.