Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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December 17, 2011

Antique, second-hand retailers see better sales

Shab is Back

A lot of it is old, some of it is kind of homely, but it has sold well, according to store owners.

Popularity has picked up for shabby chic, rustic and re-purposed antiques and second-hand items as shoppers look for more personalized and affordable Christmas gifts.

“Everything re-purposed is all the rage right now,” said Kris Campbell, who owns Timeless Pieces and Treasures eBay Consignment Shop, 631 S. Reed Road. “People can’t buy as much, so they’re focusing on that one special item.”

Shoppers as young as mid-20s have gone to the store to find used and revamped furniture, toys or collectibles, among other selections.

An added draw has come from prices, Campbell said, noting a full-size, shabby chic bed in her store that had a $99 price tag.

Furniture for a few hundred dollars was consistent at Treasure Mart Antique Mall, 116 W. Alto Road.

Business owner Eric Weaver deflected the idea that shabby chic was popular this year — rather, “primitive” items have sold well. Instead of old merchandise that might have been repainted or re-varnished, which he defined as “shabby chic,” shoppers have searched for items that are closer to their original state.

A major selling point over the last few years, Weaver said, has been furniture’s quality compared to the price.

“You can buy solid-wood, American-made stuff as opposed to more modern, particle-board stuff,” he said.

Smaller items — coins, jewelry, knives — have also been popular, he said.

“If you just sit here and watch all day what leaves, it’s such a wide variety of objects,” he said. “You’ve got to have everything out and ready because you never know what they’re going to buy.”

Antique sales have picked up nationwide this year after they plummeted, like most other areas of retail, when the recession began in 2008, according to Lincoln Sander, executive director of the Antiques Dealers’ Association of America.

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