There are two kinds of people in this world: those who collect stuff and those who do not. One is not better than the other. They are just different. And while I might fall into the latter category, it doesn't mean I can't appreciate a collection of things -- old, new, or otherwise.
This brings me to the point of my story. (Yes, there is a point.) I recently took a tour, which is really a fancy word for self-guided walkthrough, of The Grand Antique Mall in Reading. With over 27,000 square feet of space and tens upon tens of thousands of antiques, it was (to say the least) an experience.
Rob Armstrong is the manager and owner of the mall, which celebrated its 18-year anniversary this year. Through its nearly two decade long history, he's seen trends come and go. Right now, MidCentury Modern is what's hot -- '50s, '60s, and retro '70s. "It brings in a younger clientele, which is great for us," Armstrong said.
The other thing that's in style is repurposing. Someone will make benches out of chairs or headboards out of benches. And hey... if they can, then why not?
The Grand Antique Mall, like most antique shops of its kind, started off by renting space to individual dealers. Since then, they've moved into consignment and even purchase items themselves. Their business includes in-house customers, out-of-state collectors, and even online purchases. Some of the bigger furniture pieces, they'll just keep online. And, of course, there's jewelry, which is always popular and never goes out of style.
Over the past few years, the biggest changes to the business are twofold: the rise of online estate auctions like Everything But The House and Cincinnati's budding movie industry.
You'd think that EBTH would be bad for business, but according to Armstrong that's not the case. "It's been a good network for everyone. People who buy from them will then come in and shop the antique malls," he said. Armstrong even buys from them because a lot of their stuff is newer.
As for the movie industry, that's had a huge impact. With Carol, they bought anything '40s and '50s era. The more recent productions of Miles Ahead and The Blunderer included purchases of musical instruments, even renting a baby grand piano, and anything from the '60s or '70s."They [referring to The Blunderer's team] rented a house in Amberley and were down here everyday picking out accessories," Armstrong said.
If you've never been to an antique shop, here's the best analogy I could offer. It's like going through your grandma's house. It's a trip down memory lane of memories you didn't create but wish you had. Of course, if you have been antiquing and consider yourself a collector, then I don't really need to explain the joys of finding something buried from the past.
One man's trash is another man's treasure. Right? That saying had to come from somewhere.
The Grand Antique Mall is located at 9701 Reading Rd. 45215. For more information, visit the website: http://www.grandantiquemall.com/.