Jamie Lucas of Jamie’s Miniatures organized the surprise miniature giveaway

Three Belfast business owners make kids’ tiny dreams come true

Thu, 01/06/2022 - 8:15pm

BELFAST—Avonlea Lecher, 10, and her brother, Cole, 12 are big fans of the tiny world of miniatures. Together, they have made their own room boxes out of shoeboxes, filling them with handmade furniture.

It just so happens that their dad, Matt Lecher, owns a store, Heavenly Bean Bags, down the hall from Jamie’s Miniatures, located in the Belfast Mall on High Street next to the Colonial Theatre. The siblings, who are part of a family of eight children, would often pop down the hall to marvel at all of the miniature items in Jamie Lucas’s shop, which gave Lucas an idea before Christmas.

“These two would come in and start mentally picking out some items they wanted for Christmas,” said Lucas. “And I’ve been in the miniatures business for a long time, so I reached out to my network to see if anyone had any dollhouse miniatures they’d like to donate to these kids.”

Not only did seven dollhouse enthusiasts donate a number of tiny items, including a gift certificate of $25, but then, another business owner, Susan Tobey White, an artist who runs her gallery out of the Belfast Mall, got involved.

“My mom was a miniaturist, who often bought things from Jamie’s Miniatures,” said White. “I grew up making small things for my mother’s dollhouse and learned how to sew curtains and to crochet rugs. So, I donated a dollhouse that my daughter used to own for the kids to have.”

“Matt’s mother was also one of my customers at one time,” added Lucas.

Matt Lecher said with eight kids at home, things were too hectic around the holidays to unveil this special surprise, so they decided to do it on Wednesday, January 5.

Lecher told Avonlea and Cole to go over to Lucas’s shop, as they often do—and he would be right back. He walked back in with an enormous Christmas-wrapped box as the siblings’ eyes widened.

Three businesses come together in the Belfast Mall on High Street

Jamie’s Miniatures

Heavenly Bean Bag Chairs

Susan Tobey White Fine Art

Setting it down onto a table, while Lucas and White looked on, Lecher told his children, “Okay, you can open it.”

It never gets old to see kids tear open wrapping paper with anticipation.

“This is awesome!” Cole said upon seeing the dollhouse.

They got a second surprise upon opening the box of donated miniatures. Right away, the pair began building out the rooms together with a shared sense of what should go where. Immediately they consulted and agreed that the lower left room was to be a music room with a grand piano as the centerpiece.

“I’m learning how to play piano,” said Cole, with Avonlea adding, “And I’m learning to play violin.”

“You guys can decide together how you want to use the $25 gift certificate, or if you can’t agree, we’ll split it down the middle,” said their father.

Conferring together while constructing the kitchen, Cole and Avonlea both agreed they’d use the gift certificate to buy “food” to place on the breadboard.

Lecher said Avonlea—Avi, for short, used to have a dollhouse when she was younger, but that it had practically been destroyed by the younger kids. Let’s just say it was “over loved.”

“We have a secret place we’re going to hide this dollhouse,” Cole said.

“I’m very well known in the world of miniatures with a lot of support on Facebook, so to all of the people who donated for this gift, I say thank you,” said Lucas.

“Yes, they will be thrilled about this for quite awhile,” added Lecher. “They’re pretty creative kids, so they’ll be building things for it for a long time.”

Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com