This week the Herald speaks to Monty Whitney, owner of Victorian Rose Antiques, 1903 S. Washington St. in Grand Forks.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you have been in business.
A: I've been doing this for over 25 years. I started downtown. I had my shop about a year and a half before the flood hit, and then we lost everything and started over. We were one of the first retailers to reopen downtown.
Q: What is it about antiques that draws people in?
A: It's just one of those things, once you get started it just gets in your blood and it's hard to get rid of. That's how I started. I just started collecting and furnishing my apartment when I moved away from home, and it just grew from there.
Q: What kinds of antiques do you specialize in?
A: We do pretty much anything. I’ll do the furniture, the glassware, costume jewelry, I mean I do a little bit of everything. Actually the last 17 years, we've gotten into where we've done a lot of the painted furniture, with a distressed look like you see in all the decorating magazines. Then the last two years now I've been doing a lot of repurposing and refurbishing. We try to find a piece of furniture that has good bones but needs a face-lift or needs to be altered a little bit.
Q: What's a unique item in your store, what makes it special?
A: Actually one item that I don’t have in here now, but I’m working on and I’m really excited about, is an early turn-of-the-century unusual oak dresser, that I am refinishing. I've only ever seen one like it. The only other one I've ever seen like it is the one that’s been in my possession for over 30 years. So it's just very unique and very different. It just has a really cool look to it. It could be anywhere from like 1880 probably up to like early 1900s. There is no maker on it. A lot of those types of pieces from that time period were either in the Sears catalog or Montgomery Ward's or just through the general stores.
Q: What trends do you see in antiques today?
A: Right now, we've kind of shifted from the really old unique stuff to kind of mid-century '50s, '60s stuff. That's kind of what the younger people like; they unfortunately don't have much interest in the really old stuff right now. They're kind of gearing more towards the mid-century, and they like the painted pieces, and they like us taking old wood from something and actually making a piece of furniture, rather than actually purchasing another piece.