Staunton Antiques Center opens Saturday

With the grand opening honors done by Staunton Mayor Lacy B. King Jr. surrounded by local officials and dignitaries, a bevy of new boutique businesses specializing in antiques and collectibles will officially open in the new Staunton Antiques Center located at 19 W Beverley Street at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 while “Staunton Jams” outside with its popular street festival.

An earlier antiques market was housed in the same location until it closed in December 2008.

“While the former antiques mall did very well until it closed, that was when the ‘Great Recession’ began,” notes Staunton Antiques Center’s General Manager Bruce H. Joffe, an ordained pastor who’s also on the Mary Baldwin College faculty.  “Hopefully, our opening will be a harbinger of better times.”

Originally built as a McRory’s five-and-dime store, the 8,000-plus-square-foot first floor of the building owned by Lou and Ellen Boden – partners with Joffe and Russ Warren on the ‘new’ antiques venture –brings together about three dozen different street level “shoppes” featuring antiques and collectibles, classic furniture and furnishings, primitives, curios and curiosities, memorabilia, nostalgic keepsakes, ephemera (vintage paper items), artwork, bric-a-brac, forget-me-nots … tried-and-true treasures.

Dealer space was snatched up promptly upon announcing the repurposed building, and the new antiques center had to expand its floor plan – twice – to accommodate the demand for space from those who had occupied space there before, others who are diversifying and setting up shop here from other area antiques and collectibles malls, and a few collectors relatively new to the trade.

Word on the street has been overwhelmingly positive as passersby stop in to say that they’re thrilled to see the building being filled with antiques and collectibles again.  “We would come by regularly,” said one.  “It made going downtown a really fun experience,” added another.

Even before the new antiques and collectibles center’s grand opening, business has been brisk, with customers following dealers inside as the latter set up their shoppes and sales spaces.

Other area antiques and collectibles shops are enthusiastic about having Staunton Antiques Center as a neighbor.  “A rising tide lifts all ships,” says Joffe, believing that the addition of this multi-dealer antiques and collectibles center will increasingly make Staunton a day trip destination for shopping, eating, leisure activities, and soaking up all the local history that Staunton offers.

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