BLISSFIELD — Troy Sebring is gearing up for a big summer here.
This will be his first as manager of the Blissfield Antique Mall, on the corner of Lane and Adrian streets, and he’s looking forward to a busy season.
The rambling mall, encompassing four conjoined buildings and thousands of artifacts, has been spruced up and reorganized since he took over three months ago. He said he has added 10 dealers, who now number more than 75.
“We have been very busy,” he said. “We have done a lot of cleaning and rearranging. We get compliments daily about how nice it looks. Antiques are a big part of Blissfield’s attraction.”
Patricia Rayl, the manager of Blissfield’s Downtown Development Authority, agreed that the many antique stores were a magnet for tourists and visitors to such events as the village’s River Raisin Festival on July 10-13 and Blissfield Bluegrass on the River music festival Aug. 24.
“They do a fair amount of business,” she said, by way of understatement. “They’re an important part of the community. I would love to get an antiquarian bookseller downtown to complement them. You can write that we have the space available if anyone is interested.”
Current tastes in antiques come in all sizes, shapes, and eras, from bric-a-brac to the more serious, according to Debbie Lake, who is Mr. Sebring’s assistant.
“There’s primitive to Victorian to country, retro, and Americana. We have a little bit of everything,” she said.
“Depression glass is very popular.”
This is glassware that was distributed free during the Depression, often in boxes of food. Although mass produced and not of high value, it is a prized collectible.
She said demand for old furniture is especially strong, “even if it’s shabby chic painted furniture. A lot of people prefer the old furniture because it’s made better, out of solid oak or walnut.”
Ms. Lake, who lives in Riga, said she acquired her love of antiques as a little girl visiting the home of her grandmother. “She had lots of pieces, and I enjoyed examining them. I have a few in my own home.”
Alice Dewey of Temperance has been renting space at the mall for five years, selling country and garden pieces.
She has been selling antiques for 37 years, and finds them with her husband, David, at shows, shops, and auctions in Ohio and Michigan. Tecumseh, Maumee, and Findlay are especially rich hunting grounds, she said.
Her husband joined her in antique selling in 1987, after he retired from Owens-Illinois. “We thought it would be fun, but it’s pretty serious business,” she explained.
Recently, they paid $1,200 for a cupboard that they might sell at auction in Columbus. They’ll probably take this route, she said, because they don’t want it to be “shopped around,” parlance for an antique that has been displayed at repeated shows.