Phil Castle, The Business Times
Rita London leads an impromptu tour through her Grand Junction store, pointing out various merchandise for sale.
There’s Coca-Cola and Pan Am memorabilia, dolls and a collection of spoons. There’s comic books, quilts and old spice containers. And there’s belt buckles, toys and a spinning wheel.
London puts it this way: “There’s something for everybody.”
The eclectic inventory includes some collectibles and antiques, to be sure. But London stresses another use for what she terms pre-owned wares: affordable home decor. “It’s a wonderful way to decorate,” she says.
London owns Treasures From The Past, a store that sells her wares as well as those offered by 12 other vendors.
London opened the store in the Enterprise Park Mall on North Avenue about five months ago, but brings to her latest venture experience in operating one of the largest antique outlets in the region.
Before she sold the property and retired, London operated the Antique Emporium on Main Street in downtown Grand Junction. With 6,000 square feet of space and 30 vendors, the operation was among the largest of its kind between Denver and Salt Lake City.
London says she eventually tired of retirement, and longed to go back into business for herself. Earlier in her life, she’d also operated an ice cream and sandwich shop dubbed the Outside Inn as well as t-shirt and imprinting business.”I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.”
London opted on a store that sells antiques and collectibles, but mostly as unique home decor that can fit into any design. “It’s a re-education I’m trying to get across.”
Collecting antiques offers what can be a fascinating hobby for those interested in the past and tangible relics from everyday life, London says.
London belongs to group called Questers whose members meet for educational presentations on antiques.
As for collectibles, London says nearly everyone collects something. Collectibles don’t have to be old or valuable, though — just interesting to those collecting them, she says. That interest could be spurred by a gift, an inheritance — or even a chance discovery in a store like hers.
Whether people are in the market for antiques, collectibles or something else, London said pre-owned merchandise at her store offers an affordable alternative to new merchandise for decorating.
And she thinks other businesses like hers that offer pre-owned merchandise — whether it’s clothes, furnishings or other goods have a place as well.
“This is how you stretch your dollar and get something of value.”