Diggin' It: How a McKinney art admirer cultivated community in a former bus station

At first glance, Diggin' It's facade does not leave any trace of its past as a Greyhound bus station. However, with closer look, customers and passersby can see where the bus used to park in front of the store beneath the carport, which is now decked out in art and backyard decorations. (Francesca D'Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)
At first glance, Diggin' It's facade does not leave any trace of its past as a Greyhound bus station. However, with closer look, customers and passersby can see where the bus used to park in front of the store beneath the carport, which is now decked out in art and backyard decorations. (Francesca D'Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)

At first glance, Diggin' It's facade does not leave any trace of its past as a Greyhound bus station. However, with closer look, customers and passersby can see where the bus used to park in front of the store beneath the carport, which is now decked out in art and backyard decorations. (Francesca D'Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Tracey Collins, the owner of Diggin' It, said her friend knitted the decorations on her left. (Francesca D'Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Many customers come for art, but many others come to see Momma, who has come to be the store's mascot. She spends most of her days napping atop this heating pad, but she wakes up for the occasional cuddle to say hi to new and old friends. (Francesca D'Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Collins said she doesn’t have a favorite piece in the store at the moment, but she showed great affection for a Mexican metal sculpture of a cactus skeleton lady named Katrina, who hails from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. (Francesca D'Annunzio/Community Impact Newspaper)
Longtime McKinney resident Tracey Collins said she is an admirer of the arts and a fan of all things whimsical, both of which are on full display at her Historic District shop, Diggin’ It, which sells plants, jewelry and trinkets.

What may not be clear to the casual passerby, however, is the shop’s history: It is a repurposed Greyhound bus station. Before that, it was a gas station.

Now, every nook is decorated in cozy, maximalist fashion with creations made by artists from the neighborhood and beyond.

Collins bought the building in April 2010, six months after the bus station closed. The land across Tennessee Street from the shop, where houses now stand, was just a field at the time, Collins recalled.

“It was a bus station,” Collins said. “There wasn’t anything here.”


Collins said she loves the history behind the building, which she describes as having “good juju” from its prior life.

In the early years, Collins had the occasional customer plop down on the bench outside her store with a duffel bag in hand. On a few occasions, she said, her customers gave rides to these travelers, who had not realized the bus station had moved.

One customer recounted childhood memories of visiting the Greyhound station to receive Christmas presents sent by her grandparents via bus.

Collins also has quite the diverse collection of art. She sells pottery, pressed flower greeting cards, knits made by local artists and friends and recycled scrap metal transformed into statement pieces by Mexican artists.

The store also has mascots: Collins’ cat, Momma, who naps while snuggled up in a heating pad on a shelf; and three curious neighborhood kittens, who sometimes sneak a peek at customers but dash off the second anyone approaches them.

Collins said she loves selling art and showcasing local creations, but the sense of community the store has fostered has been the most meaningful part of her business.

“The best thing about this for me is ... just the people I’ve met in the last 10 years,” Collins said. “[They’re] like extended family members.”

Diggin’ It

507 N. Tennessee St., McKinney

469-952-3446

www.thedigginitshop.com

Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.
By Francesca D' Annunzio
Francesca D'Annunzio covers K-12 and higher education, development, planning and zoning, and transportation in Frisco and McKinney. She attended college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she reported for the Daily Texan and interned for the Austin Chronicle. When she's not reporting, she enjoys spending time outdoors and experimenting in the kitchen.


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