Increased storefront space and a growing demand for antiques more than doubled traffic through an Oak Hill antiques store over the past year.
Jack Kelley, co-owner of J&J Antiques and More, says he thinks the move into a larger location one door along Main Street is part of the reason business has blossomed, though he says he expects traffic to increase as Fayette County grows as an antiquing destination.
"In just under two months we've seen many, many more people come through the store, and I think a large part of that is due to increased visibility," said Kelley, who relocated to the former King Cole Dealership at 120 East Main Street in June.
"As a matter of fact, a good many people who come through the shop have stories to tell about the dealership, and many bought their first cars in the showroom here."
Visitors might not come inside but often stop to have their pictures taken with the large lawn ornaments displayed on the sidewalk out front, notably posing with large metal roosters that have become a popular product.
Crocks, lamps, furniture, vintage glass, and Amish buggy wheels have proven to be best sellers, says Kelley, who often works through a network of interstate agents to keep the shop filled with merchandise in which clients express interest.
"We spend a lot of time hunting down products that aren't necessarily easy to find here," says the Ohio native who grew up collecting with family in the farmlands near Zanesville.
Kelley admits he is a purist when it comes to vintage furniture, studying each piece to ensure all parts are original and authentic. "If there's a new drawer or a replaced hing, we don't consider it an antique.
In addition to his marketing efforts and those of his wife, Jennifer, Kelley says increased traffic may also be the result of a growing antiques market, bolstered largely by tourism in the New River Gorge region.
"By my count there are now a dozen antiques shops operating in Fayette County alone, which means many more people will be coming to the region to spend a day or a weekend shopping," he said.
"Many of our clients are travelers from outside the area and from adjacent states who are here to sightsee and peruse antiques and collectibles shops."
The move allowed Kelley to increase his space more than five times, which has also increased the amount of time customers spend shopping.
J&J Antiques is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. For more information on the store and its inventory, call 304-465-6940. See their WVExplorer.com listing at: Antiques Shops in West Virginia