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Joan Smith has always dreamed of Taylorsville someday becoming a popular hub for buying antiques in Kentucky. With only two antique shops in business, however, her dream has not yet become a reality, but her resolve will never bite the dust.
“It hasn’t made it … but we can’t give up,” Smith said.
Smith started T & R Antiques a decade ago with her late husband, fulfilling a lifelong desire to dedicate herself to her love of collecting items with a lot of history. The “T” stands for her daughter, Teresa, and the “R” stands for her son, Ronnie.
For 24 years, Smith’s husband and brother-in-law owned Taylorsville Lake Marina. In 2007, after five years of juggling T & R and the Marina, the latter was sold and Smith became a fulltime shopkeeper and sole proprietor of her own quiet antique store.
The reasons behind going into the business were simple enough, according to Smith. Her husband, who was on the city commission years ago, wanted downtown Taylorsville “to come alive like it was in the ‘50s,” she said. The couple wanted to see the community grow economically and culturally, and she still believes antiquing is a great way for a small town to attract outsiders and enhance its image.
“People travel everywhere to look for antiques,” she said.
Smith added that one of the joys of working in antiques is the often amiable and interesting personalities of the passionate buyers.
“The people that collect antiques are wonderful and friendly and always excited to find something,” she said. Their enthusiasm can always put a smile on the antique dealer’s face.
Smith buys most of the items she sells at auctions, particularly in Louisville. T & R offers everything from furniture and jewelry to postcards and marbles. One might also stumble upon arrowheads, windows, farm equipment, hanging lamps, fine china and toys. One of her most admired finds was a large series of baby blue Cherokee pots from the 1930s.
Until 1984, Smith worked as a bookkeeper and before that, she sold real estate. She believes this experience helped her immensely in managing a business completely on her own.
Smith advises prospective business owners that, although having passion is the most important ingredient of a successful business, being realistic, possessing prudence and doing a lot of market research beforehand is vital.
The last year has been a slow one for T & R, likely due to the precarious economic climate. Nevertheless, Smith said, a business owner cannot sit around in a state of anxiety. Hope, calm and tenacity are her modes of operation.
“You always hope to sell a little more, but you don’t worry about it,” she said.
Owner: Joan Smith
Address: 46 E. Main St.
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In business since: 2002
Number of employees: 1
Primary business: Antique and vintage items of all kinds, including postcards, pottery, furniture, toys, glassware and jewelry.
Price range: Highly varied, from $0.50 to $1,000; many items $1.