Much like the aged trinkets collected in his store, the antiquing business is anything but new to John Ferguson, owner of West Price Hill's Ferguson's Antique Mall.
Walking into his shop is a bit overwhelming at first glance. You’ll see pieces of history staring at you from every angle; sitting on shelves, decorating walls, and even hanging from the ceiling. Looking at it as a whole, it’s easy to become lost in the chaos of clustered treasures. But, when a piece is removed from the shelves, it's unique story suddenly materializes. And that story is best told by Mr. Ferguson himself.
John Ferguson learned the trade of antiquing from his parents, Mindell and Helen Ferguson, the original owners and operators of Ferguson’s Antiques. John’s siblings also had a hand in shaping the business. Over the years, their family's shop settled in several different locations around town— 10 different locations, to be exact. Dating back to 1951, the shop called eight different buildings on Race Street in Over-the-Rhine home. It briefly resided at a location on Kellogg Avenue sometime after that, and has steadily operated out of West Price Hill since 1997.
John isn't merely a treasure-trader, though. He's also a teacher. Incorporating his former career as a science & electronics teacher at Great Oaks High School from '77 to '97, John's passion for instruction becomes clear as he tells the unique stories and describes the functions of the rare collectibles surrounding him. Despite leaving his teaching gig, he admits he's always learning new things when it comes to discovering artifacts. “You never quit going to school." He says.
Most of the things in his shop are not only rare and carefully curated, but in very good condition, too. One of his favorite stories is about a vase he bought for $1,000. He shocked once-skeptical people years later when he sold it for a staggering $10,000.
And his taste in art goes hand-in-hand with his desire to preserve the integrity of each piece. John makes sure to take time to restore pieces that've been modified over the years to return them to their original look. By stripping away white paint on an antique kitchen hutch and using aged wood to match it, John determines what it takes to restore the piece to its authentic self. He doesn’t mind the extra love and attention he puts into his pieces.
"I take pride in what I sell, ‘cause I'm selling my name with it." He reasons.
John’s devotion to his antiques doesn't come from selling a treasure, but rather selling the story it comes with, making each piece priceless. Using his knowledge of the merchandise, he continues to keep the shop, the family tradition, and, most importantly, stories alive.
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Ferguson’s Antiques is located at 4937 Glenway Avenue (45238).