Antiques shop hopes business boosts Struthers

Garden Grove Antiques offers everything from 1950s dining sets to 100-year-old rocking chairs.
STRUTHERS -- There's no place like home.
So, when Tony Carbon's wife suggested they move back to where they grew up, he packed a truckload of antiques that he and his sister had planned to sell to dealers in Atlanta and headed for Struthers.
Once they arrived, Carbon searched for a good location to open a small antiques store. The business, he hopes, won't only provide support for his family, but will help boost Struther's economy and breathe new life into the downtown.
"We never had a store before," Carbon said.
He's lived in Atlanta the past 10 years and got started selling antiques after tagging along to auctions with his sister, Angela Wojcik. She operates a machine parts exporting company and started buying and selling antiques as a hobby.
Two other antiques stores already operate within two blocks of Carbon's store, Garden Grove Antiques, 11 Poland Ave., and he said the close proximity should help boost traffic at all three businesses.
Antiques collectors like to go where they can visit more than one shop, he said. "Look what happened in Columbiana."
Columbiana has become a hub for busloads of antique collectors who visit the community to browse the many antiques shops that line both sides of the street in its historic downtown.
"We'd hate to see this little town die," Wojcik said. She still lives in Atlanta but plans to transport loads of antiques between Struthers and Atlanta.
Other plans
She and Carbon will also continue operating their part-time antiques business in Atlanta, serving as "pickers" for other dealers.
Pickers, Carbon explained, attend auctions, garage and estate sales searching for items their customers want.
"'Sanford and Son' is what people call us," Wojcik joked, referring to the 1970s TV sitcom about a junkman.
"Every once in a while, me and her jump in the truck and go to Tennessee or somewhere to go to auctions," Carbon said.
"We look for uniques, things decorators are going to use," Wojcik added.
The store in Struthers features an eclectic collection of moderately priced items, everything from Formica and chrome tables from the 1950s to 100-year-old rocking chairs, jewelry, iron banks, record albums, even a wedding gown.
"It's funny coming back here," Wojcik observed. "Everybody knows everybody."
Wojcik has been living in Atlanta almost 17 years.
Most people there, she continued, have moved from somewhere else. Consequently, few know generations of families the way the residents of Struthers do. That also reflects on what they buy. Hoosier-style cupboards with enamel-topped counters and old curio cabinets are hot sellers in Atlanta, she said. "Here, everybody still has those things in their homes." They've been passed down from one generation to the next.
Among the items Garden Grove's first customers bought, Carbon said, are collectible iron banks and a 1950s-style dining set.
The store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Today is its official grand opening.

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