REED CITY — For 10 years, Chestnut Antique Shoppe has called Reed City its home.
After 30 years as a band teacher throughout Illinois and Michigan, Roger Sampson started his venture in the world of antique furniture.
It started with refurbishing his own furniture and eventually turned into Sampson becoming what he called a “furniture gypsy.‘
“I spent many years looking for people and places to sell my stuff,‘ he said. “That takes a lot out of you. I wanted a place where people could come to me.‘
In the early years of owning a shop, Sampson traveled to flea markets and estates sales to find furniture to display on the showroom floor. But, as he established himself in the community and gained a clientele, the items began to come to him.
And, just as his history with furniture restoration suggests, Sampson’s store has a large selection of dressers, tables, vanities and other furniture.
“Every store has something they specialize in,‘ he said. “Some places will have a lot of old railroad items, others may focus on old milk bottles, mine is furniture.‘
But there are more than wooden tables and dressers throughout the showroom floor. On the walls hang framed pictures, in the back holds a room with old typewriters and conversation-starting lamps set the stage for many of the pieces throughout the store.
Though an eclectic collection of all types of odds and ends, Sampson said organizing the store is one of his highest priorities.
“Some places, you walk in and it looks like a hoarder owns it,‘ he said. “There isn’t any reason for anything.‘
In fact, helping a customer see a piece in their home is something Sampson believes makes his shop special.
“If you notice, all the furniture is kind of staged and set up as it might be in someone’s home,‘ he said. “Getting a customer to see something in their home is one of the toughest parts. A customer sometimes will come in and measure a piece and then visit three or four more times before coming to a decision. Setting it up like it might be in a home makes that process a little easier on the visualization side of things.‘
Though he tries to keep a variety of things in his store, Sampson said the world of antiques is forever changing and has been tough recently.
“The world of antiques is an interesting one right now,‘ he said. “Shops are closing all around, I am really the only one left in the area. And, when we say area, we are talking a pretty large area. The customer base has also changed.‘
But despite the changing world of his business, Sampson is proud of what he has accomplished and that he is able to say he has a store that is all his own.
“It’s all mine,‘ he said. “I have help along the way, especially as of late with my physical health not being the best, but I am proud to say it’s all mine.‘
To see what Chestnut Antique Shoppe has to offer and maybe pick up a new piece for one’s home, stop by 849 South Chestnut St. on Tuesday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. or Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.