Old things not wanted by one person become another’s treasure

Inside of antique mall

It’s funny how blogs come about. Like much business that takes place, it’s often word of mouth. Someone who knows someone who knows someone. So, this story starts when I attending a Euclid Chamber of Commerce committee meeting to organize its Amazing-Race-style scavenger hunt taking place on Sept. 9 (read this blog about how to register). Sheila Gibbons, chamber president, mentions an antique mall, Antiques & Uniques, Wickliffe, Ohio, that she likes to browse through because I had mentioned an item that I was looking for and had asked if there were any resale or thrift stores in the area (I live in Medina County and drive to Euclid for work; so, I don’t know the area well.).

This mention bubbles around in my mind for a couple of weeks. Then, one day, I think how much like an antique store HGR is. Both take items that an owner no longer wants, needs or finds useful and tries to resell them so they can be recycled or upcycled and stay out of landfills. We both try to match the right product to the right customer. We have rows and rows of items. And, our customers come in to spend hours just looking. Sometimes they take something home, and sometimes they don’t. But we get new items all the time; so, people are repeat visitors.

I decided to take a trip to Antiques & Uniques and chat with Tom Berges, who co-owns the store with his wife, Barb. Berges says, “I was the part owner and managed an antique store in Painesville with other business partners. Eventually, I moved on to start my own business.” Antiques & Uniques opened April 2015 with full inventory. Berges says that he didn’t even need to advertise to find vendors. Many of his contacts and people that he had worked with in the past opened stalls in his store. He currently has 100 vendors, and about 200 people are waiting to get in. Business has been good.

But, the connection to HGR gets even weirder. Six degrees-of-separation weird. Berges happens to be an HGR customer. He walked me through the store and pointed out the carts, desks, tables, whiteboards, shelves and lockers that he has purchased to outfit the store. He also told me that many of his vendors shop at HGR. I was introduced to Rodney who has pallets in his stall. He also has a vintage metal locker that he purchased from HGR and cleaned up to resell. Then, I met Robin, the store manager, who used to own a warehouse and bought pallet racking and pallet jacks from HGR.

After all, business is cyclical. What have you purchased from HGR to reuse? How have you put it to use?

HGR Industrial Surplus - Antiques & Uniques relationship map

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