by Kevin Kelley
It was a scene right out of the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars” TV show. But it was taking place in a Lorain Road shop instead of Las Vegas.
A woman had brought in an antique lamp, dating to the 1950s, that was owned by her grandmother. She wanted $25 for it.
The antique store owner politely explained he could not go that high; he wants to keep items affordable for his customers, he said. He offers $20. She accepts.
Jerry Stanaszek, who negotiated the lamp purchase, and Linda McNulty are the co-owners of The Treasures Within, an antique store that opened at 21450 Lorain Road about eight weeks ago. Partners in romance as well as business, the two say their venture was inspired in part by the recent popularity of reality TV shows such as “American Pickers,” in which antique store owners hit the road looking for collectables to resell, and the aforementioned “Pawn Stars,” which shows the deal-making at a Las Vegas pawn shop.
Stanaszek, who previously worked in construction, said he got started with collecting when he came across two vintage steel toy cars while working on a job site. McNulty, a former dental assistant, picked up her interest in antiques from her mother, who was a collector.
“My mom always had real cool stuff in the house,” she recalled.
The items on display for sale in their store range from a 1940 Singer sewing machine to a 45 rpm record signed by Jerry Lee Lewis. Furniture, including a dining room table and rocking chair, take up a good deal of room. Phonograph players and a 1930s-era Zenith-brand radio, the size of a small washing machine, are indicative of technology of past decades. Vintage advertising signs cover one wall. One shelf holds china and fine porcelain, while another contains vintage toys from the 1950s.
The most unusual item in the store, McNulty said, is a wash stand, or vanity, dating from 1899. Reflecting the lack of electricity of the day, candles stand alongside the mirror.
Items from the 1930s and ‘40s are popular now, she said. Cedar chests are sought by young people who buy them as furniture on which to place large, flat-screen televisions, she added.
The couple, who live in North Olmsted, attend estate sales every weekend to find items to resell.
“The nicest stuff you get at estate sales and auctions,” Stanasezek said.
If a customer is seeking a particular item they don’t currently have, they’ll look for it while out canvassing, McNulty said. They often purchase transistor radios for a regular customer who collects them, she noted.
For the Christmas season, The Treasures Within plans to stock up on vintage children’s toys. Stanaszek, who rebuilt the shop’s floor before the stores’ grand opening, often rebuilds old toys he buys to get them in good working order.
As Stanaszek told the woman who brought in the lamp, the couple try to keep their prices low – below those found for similar items on eBay, McNulty said.
The store has a website – thetreasureswithin.com – that displays photos of items sold in the store. But no purchases can be made online.
“We decided we want the customers to come into the store,” McNulty told West Life.
Customers are telling others collectors about the store, McNulty said. They like the fact that they’re getting to know many of their repeat customers, creating a friendly feeling of community at the store.
“It’s like going down to the barber shop on ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’” Stanaszek said.