Friday, April 29, 2011

Article About Our Store In The Pine Creek Journal

Here's a article about our store that was in the April 28, 2011 Pine Creek Journal written by Kyle Lawson.

Nearly 30 antique shops in the Wexford area have come and gone over the last 45 years, while the Wexford General Store remains open. It could be the deceivingly spacious interior, which includes about a dozen rooms and a wrap around balcony ont the second floor. Or it could be the keen business sense of past and present owners, said antique dealer Carole Michaels.

According to Tina and Michael Nagy of Ross Township, it's the "friendly atmosphere." On a recent Wednesday, the couple purchased a Chippendale chair, replicated from an original 18th century design, which should fit nicely with a collection of antiques handed down from Tina's grandmother. Originally from Oregon, the Nagy's were exploring the North Hills when they missed a turn onto Route 910 and discovered the rustic sign on Church Road reading "Wexford General Store." It's a common mistake that often results in business for the store, said dealer Sue Silverman.

Customers have remained loyal, purchasing items 30 years ago and now selling them back. Others have stopped in to share memories of buying penny candy as children. And there's the true buffs, who once were customers and now are standing on the other side of the counter. "One day I saw an empty room, and thought, I'm going to try this," said dealer Janet LeCornu.

Twenty dealers, some part-time and some full-time each profit from their own room, and spend one day each week helping where needed. The treasures they seek are harder to come by these days, as a result of online trading posts such as eBay and Craigslist, but computers are soulless, Michaels said. " On eBay, you're not feeling it and getting the history of it."

The store has their own website, but there's always questions that can only be answered with a trip to Wexford, where the real hunt begins, Silverman said. "People come in and have no idea what they want," Michaels said. "They don't really know what they want until they see it."

As the Nagy's paid for their chair last Wednesday, a 19th century trunk-resembling a once buried treasure chest-was being carried out the front door. Constructed in 1880, the trunk is one of many that were brought to the United States by immigrants. Int the next room, a pair of worn, leather 1941 flying gloves are displayed in a glass case, probably separated from the white scarf, leather helmet and bomber jacket typically worn by pilots of the era. Around the corner is a 19th century filing cabinet from the Armstrong County Courthouse.

Among the paperwork once stored in the tiny drawers probably was the name James Daugherty a stenographer and lawyer from Kittanning who invented the world's firs visible typewriter in 1881.

Even the history of the store is palpable, from the uneven, creaking floorboards to the musty scent that saturates damp, spring air on a rainy April afternoon. "It's not a fake smell," Michaels said, "It's a natural smell."

Each memento sparks an emotional connection between the living and the dead. Each day begins a new search for an interesting story, a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, or both.
For those who shop at the Wexford General Store antiques are a hobby, but for those who work there, antiquing is a lifestyle.

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