Monday, May 22, 2006
The other night I attended the Preview Showing for the new group shop, Scuttlebutt Antiques, which is opening to the public this Saturday, May 27, 2006. Strong turn-out of dealers, auctioneers, antiques show managers, the news media and the public, and the food was fabulous!
Darren and April Gilbert with Dawn and Jeff Wright are the two couples who co-own and operate this new three floor antiques shop. They recently purchased and updated a large former gift shop, located on Route One just south of Rockland, Maine. It's a great location on Route 1 includes a huge parking lot. It's a wonderful building - they were able to save much of the former gift shop's original nautical-themed pine cabinetry and decorative accents, including the mahogany front country and the authentic antique Fresnel brass lights that adorn the front entrance.
Both couples have extensive experience in the antiques trade, having worked in retail and wholesale sales, auctions, and group shops.
It's a light and bright shop, with a very open and airy floor plan and wide aisles. Already most of the first floor is rented to local and not-so-local dealers; at the moment, the shop only has a few showcases and a few pine stepback display cupboards available on the main floor.
The second floor - called the Sail Loft - is divided into small booths, and is perfect for dealers specializing in small furniture and other small antiques. The lower floor hasn't been completed yet, but should be by the end of the summer.
One of the really interesting features of this shop is that it has an elevator!! Not too many multiple story shops have their own elevator, and usually dealers have to lug their merchandise up and down stairs. Scuttlebutt Antiques' elevator allows dealers to load theier furniture and boxes of stock into the elevator, minimizing the time and effort it takes to haul things into their booths. More importantly, this elevator is large enough to accommodate the disabled, making the entire shop available for everyone to shop.
Rather than trying to just fill space at Scuttlebutt, the owners decided early on that they would be quite particular about the quality of antiques the shop would offer. They have been careful about which dealers they wanted to include, and have turned down a few who handle lower-grade merchandise. They've been quite successful in attracting good dealers who have years of knowledge and experience; most of these dealers offer antiques from the 19th century, and the variety is fabulous.
At the preview, I noticed that almost all of the booths had 18th and 19th century antiques. The range was quite impressive - formal and country furniture with a strong range of good painted furniture, mirrors, folk art, stoneware, lots of English and American glass and china, baskets, lighting, jewelry, sewing tools, paintings and drawings, toleware, nice early treen, and many other categories which I can't remember at the moment. Plenty of quality, and the prices are equal or below most of the better shops along Route One.
Several sales were made at the Preview, and two spaces were rented out to a couple of dealers who came to the Preview to see how the shop looked. Both are good signs that Scuttlebutt Antiques is on it's way to being a very succussful shop!