Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Antique Connection owner Rhonda McFadden’s fondness for antiques was something that grew inside her slowly. Her husband had always enjoyed antique automobiles, and he would often try to take her into antique shops as well.
“At first I didn’t want to go looking in old dusty stores,” she said, but she eventually changed her mind around 2010. “We would spend the day looking and time would just pass by.”
About a year later they also started attending estate sales. McFadden would collect anything that caught her eye, from furniture to trays to glassware.
“Before I knew it I had a garage full. Then I had a storage unit. And then another,” she said. “My husband started asking me what my plans were.”
McFadden had recently finished getting her bachelor’s degree at UTC, a goal she’d had for some time, and her last child was leaving home for college. She had worked for a local corporation the previous nine years and did not want to go back, so when she told her husband she wanted to open an antique shop, he was supportive.
They started looking for a space and in March of last year ran across their current location, formerly an A-frame building that housed “The Bag” nearly a decade ago. They struck a deal with the owner in early April 2012 and renovated the building to change its facade.
“Every night I would think out the floor plan in my head,” McFadden said in regards to the design that consists of rooms built from items she had found, arranged as if she were decorating a home.
This helps customers visualize the items in their home, but it also means she is moving items around often when pieces sell.
“We’ve done good with the slow economy,” she said, adding that the store will get around 10 customers on a rainy day and as many as 30 on sunny days.
While most of her inventory’s furniture came from estate sales at first, McFadden said people now come to her with relatives’ furniture, which helps keep her prices low.
“Antiques should be affordable to everyone, and I think I can offer that,” she said.
McFadden said her husband does a lot of the buying and negotiating, but when she looks for a piece she examines it for quality and authenticity as well as its potential to sell.
She often asks her customers what they are looking for and then helps them find it, such as a particular era of furniture.
“I’ve made several sales based on that,” she said.