Lovers of nostalgia love antique shops

By Aisha I. Jefferson

Kraig Kujawa closely guarded the "Life" magazine he held under his arm. Kujawa, who carried the May 1963 issue in a protective plastic covering, said he just purchased the vintage publication from Emily's Attic, an antique shop on the Square in downtown McDonough.

"(May 1963), that's when my brother was born so I'm going to send it to him," said Kujawa, a Tampa resident who is in town for the Independent Softball Association Fastpitch Softball World Series.

Kujawa, his daughter Kierslyn, 14, and his father-in-law took a break from the softball event to go antique shopping, and had found themselves perusing through Plum Tree Antiques & Gifts on Griffin Street in downtown McDonough.

"I hate shopping but I don't mind walking through antique shops," said Kujawa, adding he's never been antique shopping before. "You never know when you're going to run across some unique items."

The search for one-of-a-kind and unique items is a reason Plum Tree's Dawn Edmonds said shopping for antiques is popular. Taking a trip down memory lane is another reason Edmonds said people go antiquing.

"There's always going to be the people who love nostalgia and nostalgia brings people to antique shops," Edmonds said.

And with various antique shops throughout Henry County, it is apparent that there is nothing antiquated about antique shopping.

Kierslyn lucked-up on three silver bracelets and silver rings from Emily's Attic, and hoped to be just as fortunate at Plum Tree.

"I bought jewelry because the new style is vintage," she said.

Kierslyn isn't the only one with an appreciation for rarities.

Owning an antique shop for many store owners is just and extension of their appreciation for aged goods.

Although Jim and Beverly Gammalo opened Emily's Attic last year, he said he and his wife have been collecting antiques for 20 years, and decided to give running an antique shop a try. Gammalo said he holds true to a rule-of-thumb went it comes to determining whether an item is an antique.

"A true definition of an antique is 100 years or older," Gammalo said, pointing out that items from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s are an example of vintage time periods.

A love for shopping and for old and new items led Neasha Sublett and her mother Dagmar Vanburen to team up with friend Marilyn Hale to open The Treasure Chest last month.

Situated in Mays Crossing shopping center on North Henry Boulevard in Stockbridge, The Treasure Chest, like many of the other antique shops, has pretty much one-of-kind furniture, jewelry, clothing, artwork, collectibles and other items most people may not even think of, or have forgotten once existed.

Sublett said they go shopping in various parts of country, including Tampa, Savannah and Kansas.

"You'll find things at estate sales where you are not sure what it is," Sublett said, adding that some people will approach them with items. She also said that having diversity, where items showcased cater to people of various ethnic, race and class groups, is key to their business.

Sublett said some people come in to their store and get chills because they see an item that took them back 60 years to their childhood.

This is a reaction that appears to be common in antique shops.

Gammalo said the best part of the business is "being able to sell something to someone who enjoys what [they] are receiving."

McDonough resident Priscilla Head, her three sisters and niece spent Saturday afternoon

hopping from antique shop to antique shop on the town's Square. Head said the group will visit antique shops and flea markets when traveling out of town because "usually that's where you find a lot of quality things."

Head, who collects dolls, said she noticed a few pieces of antique bedroom furniture at one of the stores that was similar to what her grandmother had.

"Stuff was really, really made well back then," Head said. Her sister Theresa Head agreed, adding, antique items are desirable because they were "handmade and well thought out."

Many of the antique shops are decorated to reflect the items they sell. Both Plum Tree and Cornerstone Antiques, also on Griffin Street in downtown McDonough, are run out of houses that are about 100 years old, or older. The Treasure Chest has various theme rooms, including one with art by Norman Rockwell, and Gammalo described Emily's Attic as a mini-mall with different vendors.

Sublett also said if someone sees an item they like at an antique store, it's best to get it then because it may not be available during the next visit.

"You have to keep stuff moving because your customers expect to see different things," Sublett said.