Trio of antique shops thrives on Adams Street in UpTownWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Whether it be a wooden table or a vintage dress, antique-lovers can likely find whatever they desire inside the triangle of antique stores on Adams Street.
Adams Street Antiques & Art and J. Valentine Antiques opened in November followed by Great Finds on Adams in February. All three are located on the 1500 block of Adams Street. Rather than view each other as competition, the owners said the other locations provide more selection for customers.
“They feel that it’s beneficial. They call it clustering when shoppers come to a district and they can’t find an item in one store, [owners] can send the customer down the street,” said Julie Champa, executive director of the UpTown Association.
The three stores also contribute to the growing economy of Adams Street located in UpTown Toledo. “The antique stores add to the vibrancy of the neighborhoods. We think that antique stores are a really good fit for the types of businesses that we’re looking to attract,” Champa added of the community with about 1,000 residents and restaurants like Manos and Manhattan’s.
Adams Street Antiques & Art
“I just love this shop. I never thought I would. I thought it would be fun, but I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy coming in every day,” said Connie Hoffmann, owner of Adams Street Antiques & Art.
Hoffmann used to manage the now closed Erie Street Market, formerly a popular place for antiques. Now many of the former Erie vendors have found a home in her store or at Great Finds on Adams, owned by Julie Hopfer and Lacey Fix. Hopfer and Fix were also vendors at Erie Street Market.
Adams Street Antiques is the largest of the three stores and houses 14 vendors. Hoffmann is one of those vendors and specializes in vintage wares, shabby chic items and glassware.
“I’ve always loved antiques and I’ve always been a collector and I’ve always been interested in them,” she said.
Hoffmann encouraged Hopfer and Fix to open their own store across the street after receiving word that Erie Street was closing in early 2012. Hopfer was one of the first vendors in Hoffmann’s store and Fix had worked closely with Hoffmann at Erie Street.
“I was overall manager, but she was my gal on the spot,” Hoffmann said of Fix, who is also a vendor at Hoffmann’s store.
This kind of camaraderie is typical among all four owners and each encourages shoppers to try the other shops. “We’d like to have it be a destination. Antiquers like to go from one to the other and we make sure that they do … or we suggest it,” Hoffmann said with a laugh.
Hoffmann also makes sure her customers are never bored. She changes the window display every month (June’s theme is brides and summer), serves coffee and tea and keeps her merchandise selection fresh.
“We have people that come in every week because we change our merchandise often or if we don’t get new things, we change the layout so there’s always new things to look at,” Hoffmann said.
Despite the tough economy, Hoffmann said business has been good.
“When things are like they are now people tend to buy antiques because they get nostalgic and they come in and see something that their grandmother had and they buy it for their children or they buy it for themselves,” she said.
Great Finds on Adams
Fix and Hopfer are quick to praise their Adams Street locale and its nearness to the two other stores.
“This corner is a fantastic corner so to leave this corner would be nuts,” Hopfer said. “You name it we’ll have it … or we know someone that already has it.”
“If people can’t find it here, we tell them to go [to Adams Street Antiques] or go two doors down (J. Valentine),” Fix added.
Antiques have been a lifelong interest for Fix. “My mother collected art all my life and I was raised around antiques so it’s always been an interest,” she said.
Hopfer’s introduction to antiques was a little different. In her work in the floral market, “I started displaying certain items I would make on old items and notice that [customers] always wanted to buy the old items, too,” she said.
Great Finds has 12 vendors all with their own personality, including herself and Fix, Hopfer said.
“Here we just have everything; everything but the kitchen sink and that, too,” she said. “We have a lady that’s shabby chic; we have another lady that loves the ’50s and ’60s and the retro stuff and my husband likes the architectural stuff; [Lacey] dabbles in everything.”
“Shot glasses to chandeliers,” Fix chimed in.
J. Valentine Antiques
James Valentine, owner of J. Valentine, didn’t always want to sell antiques — he originally went to school to be a veterinarian. But, one day when he was out walking his dog, he stopped to help a man struggling to carry a dresser. Valentine began working for the man, delivering the furniture, and fell in love with the items.
Now his store, the only of the three without other regular vendors, specializes decorative arts and large furniture, specifically mid-century Danish furniture.
“I have a small shop and that gives me the ability to talk to customers about each item because I know the history of each one,” he said.
Valentine, who used to manage Wildwood Antiques Center, decided to get his own space because “I figured I was outgrowing my basement.”
He didn’t know Hoffmann was renting the space across the street when he signed the lease, but the coincidence seems to have worked out and the two opened their stores together on Nov. 11, 2011.
“With antique stores, you really can’t compete with each other. You could go over there and spend hours. You could come over here and spend hours and you would never see the same thing,” he said.
Despite having larger items than the other two stores, most items in Valentine’s store are under $600.
“In Toledo, we are the bottom of the barrel in prices. My high prices are considered bottom of the barrel anywhere else,” he said.
“People think that buying antiques is so expensive, but it’s really not. It’s actually cheaper than buying new and new stuff doesn’t last too long,” the Detroit native added.
Adams Street Antiques & Art is at 1500 Adams St., Toledo. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Great Finds on Adams is at 1501 Adams St., Toledo. Store hours are 12-7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
J. Valentine Antiques is at 1505 Adams St., Toledo. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, visit http://www.uptowntoledo.org.
Tags: Adams Street, Adams Street Antiques & Art, antiques, Connie Hoffmann, Great Finds on Adams, J. Valentine Antiques, James Valentine, Julie Champa, Julie Hopfer, Lacey Fix, Uptown, UpTown Association