Mary Eastman’s Passion for Antiques Obvious at Old Warehouse Antiques in Sterling

eastman1By Jon DeStefano

 

   In 1994 Mary Eastman opened Old Warehouse Antiques, a literal landmark in Sterling, Colorado.
   The Warehouse was her father’s building and distributorship which he began in 1933 and she wound up running both the warehouse and distributorship until she determined in 2010 to focus solely on her antique warehouse. “Antiques were my passion so it was an easy decision.”
   Mary notes, “When people walk through the door so many of them say, ‘Finally, a shop with real antiques.’ She adds, “It’s getting harder to find good antiques.” But you will find them at Old Warehouse Antiques and a lot of them.
Eastman2   The sheer volume of antiques and collectibles in the warehouse is astounding. Mary got many of them from buying trips throughout the Midwest although today she admits much of it comes through her front door. “We’ve been here long enough people know us and know we’re fair. I like the people and they like what I do,” she adds.
   “If I had to retire and just go sit home, I’d go nuts. We have friends coming here from all over the world.” The shop is about 5,000 square feet with another storage building attached in back with an additional 4,000 square feet of goods.
   You can tell how much she likes her customers. She tells the story of “one fella came in, looked at the price tag on an item, and asked me what my best price was. I quoted him $100 more than what was on the price tag. He said, ‘That’s more than you’re charging for it.’ ‘Well, I said, you wanted to know my best price, now do you want to know yours?”
   When you walk into the warehouse you feel like you are stepping back in time. There is a nice pot belly stove warming the place at the entrance with a few rustic old antique chairs around it. Just past it there is an old wooden counter, a good 25 to 30 feet long, something you would expect to find in a general store in an old western town a hundred years ago.
eastman4   All the furniture is set up in specific settings, like separate rooms or vignettes. Mary did this because “it just looks better if you can see it in a way where you can capture the past and a feeling for it. There are dozens and dozens of different room settings, kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, you name it.
   “It is a lot of work,” Mary admits, “Six days a week and sometimes we do seven.”
   Mary’s favorite parts are the setup and doing the restoration, which they do a lot of. She explains, “The restoration brings things back to life. Charles (her husband) does beautiful work when it comes to fixing things and doing the finishing. We’re a good team.” She calls him her partner and admits he’s her better half. She has two daughters who live in Denver.
   They have huge collections of many items, for example, Aladdin lamps which Charles focuses on and for which they have all the replacement parts. Mary likes Victorian “stuff” like the glassware which is “so pretty and formal. We’re not like that anymore.” “Much of today’s stuff is junk,” I add. Mary corrects me, “It’s disposable.”
eastman3   A lot of her kitchen vignettes are from the 40′s and 50′s. Collectibles abound including a huge clock collection, 40 plus, cookie jars, elegant glassware, Cambridge and more common like Desert Rose. Even rural collectibles like tractors and farming items are there. “If it’s old, I like it and we collect it.”
   They have a huge amount of oak furniture and quite a bit of walnut and even mahogany. Their big seller is oak furniture. “If there is something somebody wants there is a good chance we’ve got it,” Mary says with a warm giggle. “We have about 5,000 items,”she finishes. We chat awhile longer about children and I get to meet her greeter ‘Sparky’ and on the drive back to Denver my thoughts mull over one of the finest collections of antiques I have seen in one place and a time and hospitality long gone but not forgotten.
   When you get a chance stop by Old Warehouse Antiques and meet Mary and Charles. Sit down by the old potbelly and enjoy. I promise you’ll be glad you did. The Old Warehouse Antiques is located at 326 North Front Street, 1/2 block north under the Chestnut Street overpass. Look for the huge purple Antique sign. Their number is 970-522-3145.

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