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It's Just Serendipity, a beloved antique store in downtown Hammond, upset many loyal customers when it announced last year it would be closing down.

But now the Hammond store at 5630 Hohman Ave. is "back by popular demand" – and growing.

It's Just Serendipity will remain open on some Saturdays and is expanding to a second location at the Happy Day Event Co. in Schererville. Owner Karen Maravilla accepted the position of event strategist at Happy Day, a sibling company to the branding firm Mixdesign, and is adding a showroom there.

"We're going to have two locations instead of just one," Maravilla said. "We've got three warehouses and other vendors so we'll have a huge variety every day at both locations. Our Schererville location will be more convenient than some."

It's Just Serendipity was voted No. 1 antique store in The Times Best of the Region in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Maravilla is a longtime booster of downtown Hammond.

Maravilla and Raymundo Garcia, the owner of El Taco Real, opened It's Just Serendipity in 2009 to bring shopping back to downtown Hammond and help revitalize it.

"Growing up, our parents took us shopping in downtown Hammond… it was the place to be," she said. "We believe in the mantra 'be the change you wish to see in the world,' therefore, we wanted to lead by example. Some people complain, some talk about what should be done, and others move away. We love Hammond and our downtown."

The store is filled with antique and vintage items, furniture, home decor, and goods that were hand-crafted or re-purposed by local artists. The owners decided to close it at the end of December due to personal circumstances. But they kept pushing the closing date back as customers asked to keep it open so they could visit one last time.

"The outpouring of support was amazing," Maravilla said. "Serendipitously, friends and colleagues recently came forward and asked us to partner so that It’s Just Serendipity could remain open. We are thrilled to advise that our downtown store will remain open on select Saturdays."

Maravilla said she would try to keep the Hammond store open every Saturday, though sometimes that won't be possible and will let customers know exactly when it will be open on the Facebook page and a private email group. The new store will be located in Happy Day at 21 E. U.S. Highway 30 in Schererville, and will feature similar items like architectural finds, collectibles, home decor, vintage jewelry, sports memorabilia, vintage clothes and greeting cards.

For more information, call (219) 512-4298, email itsjustserendipity@att.net, or check out the web site at www.itsjustserendipity.com

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.