River Town Antiques selling nostalgia

Joseph Pratt

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River Town Antique Mall had its official opening Saturday, with dozens upon dozens of guests celebrating Small Business Saturday. Owner Gary Kenyon said the day of celebration was wildly successful and over 22 large furniture pieces sold.

In fact, the store did such good business, Kenyon and business partner Lisa Moore both plan on attending estate sales and auctions in the coming days to help fill their empty spaces.

“We offer furniture, glassware, art, old salvaged doors and windows, just a little bit of everything you probably remember being in grandma and grandpa’s house,” Kenyon explained.

40 vendors comprise River Town Antique Mall. Some of which came from other stores, but many come new to the Boneyfiddle economic district.

Kenyon says that the efforts to open and get a normalcy defined has been a long road, but he had many great friends and vendors who helped him clean the two spaces of 543 and 541 Second Street.

“I really want to give thanks to the vendors,” Kenyon said. “I am honestly proud to have them, because they stepped up to help make it possible.”

Kenyon has been in the business, professionally, for two years, and has been very careful in designing his shop. The floor plan leaves plenty of room for wheelchairs or groups of friends to leisurely stroll. It is also free of clutter or stairs that could hinder any senior guests.

According to the business owner, a career in antiques found him, he didn’t find it. He recalls fond memories of his grandfather and the unique items in his old farmhouse. When his grandfather passed, he was left with the property and he had to decide on a method of finding it all a new home.

“I didn’t know what to do with all of it. I tried to have yard sales and stuff like that, but I couldn’t get rid of it fast enough,” Kenyon explained. “I moved into a store as a vendor and found a liking in it.”

After he found a space, Kenyon said he couldn’t stop. He was soon managing an area shop and eventually moved into his current building to form his own business through River Town Antique Mall. In the business’s short life, Kenyon said things have gone well and the community has been welcoming.

“Things have gone quite well and we have big plans,” Kenyon said. “I want River Town Antique Mall to become a place you visit, find things you forgot about, and remember visits with your grandparents. We carry things you just don’t find at Walmart. We have furniture pieces from the 1800s that look like they just came from the assembly line. The reaction of the shoppers, when they see these things, is just perfect; seeing that nostalgia is why I love what I do.”

Kenyon said that a lot of support comes from within the Boneyfiddle community.

“Everyone from up and down the street comes into River Town to shop, just as we do at their stores,” Kenyon said. “We all go look at other shops to shop and support each other well. I look forward to working with everyone in the future to do some big things.”

River Town Antique Mall is in the conjoined buildings of 541 and 543 Second Street. Kenyon may be reached by phone at 740-821-5383. The shop is opened Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

“I love Second Street. It reminds me of Chillicothe Street when I was a kid. When I was young, I always knew my dad would take us downtown when he was off work. I enjoyed that and I think Second Street is becoming the new Chillicothe Street. We’ve been seeing people working on buildings and fixing them, taking pride in their home, and we want to be involved in all of it.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times Gary Kenyon, owner of River Town Antique Mall
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2015/12/web1_20151201_1225101.jpgJoseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times Gary Kenyon, owner of River Town Antique Mall