When I was little, I always wanted to own a store. We would play “store” in the garage and have the neighborhood kids come over and “buy” all of our “wares”. They would use monopoly money for their purchases and we would give them rocks for change. We had paper bags and aprons and a big feather duster that we used to keep our shelves all spiffy. We would rearrange the store and our wares to accommodate the space allowed that day and what we decided to sell. A neighbor kid would usually come over and ask if we could sell something for them. We learned to be pretty good negotiators and get a basic course in how a REAL business would run. But the stuff, the setup and the customer all cultivated the dream of someday owning my own little shop.
Over the years, I have shopped all over the world. I have shopped in huge famous shops, tiny tucked away shops; bookshops, food shops, baby shops, clothing shops, music shops But my favorites have always been the junk shops.They were usually cluttered and dusty. Their lighting was dim where even a title of a book was hard to decipher. And they had that damp musty smell of ancient ancestors calling out your name! “Come buy me” the dishes and albums and books and paintings would call.
Well, I found one of these “dream” shops right here in the town I live in! It is hard to find these particular shops full of treasures and clutter here in Florida. Most shops are filled with designer clothes and outlet prices. They are located in tan strip malls made of cinder block and stucco. Not much for the imagination, but they draw throngs of shoppers off the highways who are coming to our state for the warmth, beaches and entertainment.
Bachman’s Antiques-Used Furniture now has its third generation of family working the counter of their shop. All 7000 square feet of it is cluttered and dusty, but well organized and set up in such a way that you, the shopper, linger in a section, afraid that you might miss some hidden item.There are jewelry displays and piles of dishes, books and crystal, chandeliers, armoires, couches and dining sets.There is everything to dress an entire house but also enough to appease the collector and antique hunter.
The Bachman family came from south Florida nearly 30 years ago. They had owned a used furniture store near Fort Lauderdale. They sold that store and decided to move north and begin fresh. At the time that they landed here, our community was made up mostly of dirt roads to the beach and a house every so often. Bunnell was an old farming community 8 miles inland. But it was settled and small and safe. Bill Bachman had lined up a job, but the used furniture business was in his blood and he never took the job offer. Instead, he and his mother started going to yard sales and auctions and passing the word that the family was opening a used furniture store. Within a few months, the Bachman Family had filled the newly built pole barn with items they had bought from flea markets and garage sales. Soon enough, others started stopping by asking Bill or his mother for a bid on things left in a home where a relative had passed. Suddenly they were in the estate sale business.
Over the next 30 years, the community grew. The roads were paved and houses and schools were built and Bill’s business grew. He added the U haul truck service and he took on boats and campers to buy and sell. Restaurant equipment took up a section and so did building materials. Bill kept with the original strategy of offering a fair price both to the buyer and the seller and his reputation grew. Today, Bill’s brother Bruce works with him and their mother is still a presence at the shop. Trucks come in almost daily hauling new items and all members of the family do research and sales on line and are always on top of their business looking for pricing points, history and trends. They do not carry clothes or mattresses or children’s items. Furniture, knick-knacks and collectibles are their forte and they are good at it!
Bruce said that everyone that comes in the store is interesting and has a story and usually so do the items they would like to sell. No two days are alike and each one poses a new challenge both good and bad. But, it is about being in business for yourself. It is about the creative edge of business development. It is about making your own rules and your own future and your own bottom line.
When I think about the store of my youthful play, it brings fond memories. To have this little space, full of knick-knacks you have purchased and arranged into displays that customers oooh and ahhh at each little setup; to be able to sell these items and make a living talking to customers, buying new cute trinkets to fill the space; to take the big feather duster and clean and straighten your shop to a pristine shine, Well…it seems like the Perfect job! I have begun to look over the footage in my garage and wonder about its possibilities!