North Star Antiques opened it’s doors in February of this year. But the location has been one to house antiques for almost 15 years. Dovetail Antiques closed it’s doors the end of January when owner Debbie Haggai decided to retire from running a storefront. She retained the Dovetail name to continue doing estate sales and shows. Tonia North was a dealer at Dovetail and saw an opportunity, challenge, and way to keep a tenant in the building. While Dovetail had a focus on primitives, North Star has changed things up a bit.
Preparations for a New Beginning
Tonia North has been an antiques dealer for a decade and a half specializing in postcards. But you’ll find her buying and selling furniture and collectibles too. She has a *thing* for furniture with lots of drawers and cubbies meaning furniture for sale in her area often fits this criteria in some way. She’ll be the first to tell you she’s still learning about various aspects of buying and selling but that’s part of the business. She’s also discovering knowledge and a love for other categories of antiques and collectibles including jewelry.
North purchased some display fixtures and supplies from Haggai but the start of North Star Antiques is a separate venture. Four dealers from Dovetail decided to stay with North Star and an additional five newcomers have been added. You will also find vendor spaces available with changing product on a monthly basis.
Tom Smith, North’s brother and her son JP are professional painters who helped take advantage of a partially empty store to give the walls a fresh coat of paint. New dealer Dale Spitler also helped install repurposed wood in one of the front window displays. Some changes here and there enabled North to create a different feel to the location.
A History of Storytelling
Tonia North says, “The true definition of Antiques is over 100 years old but most Antique stores stray from that definition.” North and her dealers carry items which fit this definition. Visitors will also find collectibles while taking a stroll through the store. These items do not fit the age and even dollar value requirement for an “antique” but they’re still old, interesting, and have stories to tell. North invites people of all ages in for an experience.
North enjoys learning about the history of various pieces in the shop and stories they evoke with customers. Recently a gentleman was looking around when he was drawn to an old school desk. Oddly or interestingly enough the name “Nick” was etched into the wood top. Nick was the name of the man who was interested in it. From time to time these connections based on stories of those who look at the shop are posted on the North Star Antiques Facebook page.
Looking at items in North Star Antiques can easily bring back memories but they can also be used to create new ones. With a surge in finding creative ideas on Pinterest an old window, ladder, pallet, frame, and more can be repurposed creating a new look. “Magazines used to show people how to re-use and re-purpose things that now we find on Pinterest. Pinterest is just the current venue that excites the new generation about all things old and new just like magazines did.” reflects North. Antiques isn’t just old stuff collecting dust. She continues, “We hope to inspire young and old on keeping and reusing history while mixing it with all the things old and new that they love and make their own ‘history’.” Customers can find items which have been “rePurposed”.
Even displays throughout the store can tell a story or just draw someone in. One piece of depression glass alone isn’t particularly stunning or eye-catching unless a collector is looking for additions. But a place setting or entire set of tableware displayed together can trigger possibilities. Similarly jewelry laid out by color or in some pattern attracts customers to take a look and potentially make a purchase.
Turning the Page
If you’ve already stopped by North Star Antiques chances are it will be different the next time you step inside. Dealers and vendors are always adding new items. Some of the store’s dealers also spend some time manning the location providing even more opportunities to share stories and have a different experience.
Those interested in having items in the store on a consignment basis are also welcome to contact Tonia. She’ll work based on what space is available and what is brought in. Vendor space can also be rented on a monthly basis. A new vendor will take over the space each month offering another means for changing displays.
The brick and mortar store is one aspect of reaching customers. Online sales at Rubylane, Etsy, and eBay, with an occasional listing on Craigslist also boost sales. Not all items in the store are listed online but the option is there, especially when it comes to consignment pieces. When reaching a wider online audience there’s potential for an item to sell more quickly compared to remaining in the store. Recently Tonia shipped a doll to Japan which sold for $1,800! When it comes to selling antiques and collectibles much depends on who is seeing an item and if there’s any kind of demand.
North is also hoping to host events in the store. Earlier this month a prom dress event took place. Over the course of four hours one evening guests were invited to try on prom dresses. One person in attendance won a Mary Kay glamour session. If you missed the event fear not! The dress display will remain through prom season. Future events could include learning about a topic or range of products such as paper or jewelry.
Your Experience Awaits
North Star Antiques offers visitors unique items and a unique experience. Stop by to get ideas on how you can repurpose things in your own home or take home a piece to inspire a room. There really is something for just about everyone offered by dealers and vendors. Make 211 W. Main Street one of your regular stops in Lowell!
Open Tuesday – Friday 11-5, Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 12-5 (but call first). Like their Facebook page to see some currently available pieces and get information on upcoming events.
Photos courtesy of North Star Antiques and used with permission.