18 antiques dealers under one roof

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

By Jill Bock

Special to Business Today

MINER - Double AA Antiques isn't one antiques store -- it is 18. Owner Ken Moore has brought together a dozen and a half diverse dealers in collectibles and antiques to create a single shopping experience at his business, located at 205 State Highway AA in Miner. Customers, he said, are delighted.

"People are surprised by all we offer. It isn't unusual for someone to spend an hour or two looking at all we have to offer. Sometimes it is three or four hours," said Moore.

The business' opening in the middle of October coincided with the closing of Sikeston's other antiques mall where Moore served as manager. It seemed like the right time for him to start his own business.

"There is a large market for antiques in this area," he said, adding that Double AA Antiques has a large variety including furniture, glassware, collectibles, military memorabilia, tools, pottery and jewelry. According to Moore, one dealer has one of the largest collections of depression glass found in the area while another offers head vases, which are hard-to-find collectibles.

"There are a lot of things that are unique here," he said, adding that he became interested in Coca-Cola memorabilia several years ago. In his search to add to his collection, he often came up with duplicates or items that didn't fit with his hobby, so he began selling these. The more involved he became with antiques, the more he found he enjoyed the work.

Moore provides the building, oversees daily operations including sale of the items and sells some of the antiques he has collected over the years. The dealers rent space, providing him with a steady income along with a commission on their items he sells.

Currently there is a waiting list of dealers who would like to display items at Double AA Antiques.

Moore does sell some pieces on consignment, buys antiques and can provide appraisals through his business.

Also he has found he enjoys sharing his knowledge with his customers. While most people have a good idea of what they are looking for, Moore said when there are doubts, he will work to steer customers to the best buys.

He has sought to arrange the store to make it customer-friendly -- providing wide aisles for easy browsing. According to the owner, customers have commented that the building is bigger than it looks and provides a warm and cozy atmosphere for shoppers.

Some of those browsing through the collections at Double AA Antiques are serious collectors while others are dealers from out of the area looking for bargains they can resell at their shops.

"And sometimes they really aren't collectors but someone looking for something they remember from Grandma's house. They are looking for an item connected with their memories," said Moore.

This is an instance where having 18 dealers in one store can work to the customer's advantage. If one dealer doesn't have that "memory item," Moore will check with the others.

"Antique-wise there isn't anything we don't offer," said Moore. "And if a customer comes in and asks for something that we don't have I will contact the dealers or look for it myself. We usually will find what they are looking for."

He likes to ensure his customers know what they are getting. The dealers are asked to mark any items that are reproductions, and craft items are kept to a minimum.

Also he encourages dealers to keep their prices where they will still make money, but items are easily affordable. Many of the items for sale at Double AA Antiques, according to Moore, are listed below book value. In addition, some dealers provide the store owner with the flexibility to offer discounts.

"Our focus is to sell, not accumulate items," he emphasized, adding dealers are encouraged to rotate their stock.

Being the owner of a business has brought some new duties to Moore. He noted he can no longer take little things for granted. "You are the one who has to get things done, there is a lot of after-hours work."

Fortunately, Moore said, he has help from his family and his two employees, Shelby Warren and Kristen Loafman, assistant manager.

The business is establishing a site on the Internet, where dealers and items will be featured at www.double-aa-antiques.com.

Jill Bock is editor of the Standard Democrat in Sikeston.

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