Antique treasures at Market Street Emporium

emporium2“I get a good deal on it, I’m putting a good deal on it.” Not every antique shop owner runs their resale business by that philosophy, but Market Street Emporium is no ordinary place, and proprietor Kim Brashear’s words mean a pleasantly priced shopping experience for her antiquing customers.

With the rise in popularity of both antiques and Americana, sellers attract buyers who scour estate sales, flea markets, and other repositories for hidden treasures. Brashear and her husband, Rocky, “acquired a lot of stuff” through these means, Brashear said, adding “We always wanted to have a place to display and sell, so we were looking for a venue and stumbled across this house, and it was perfect.”

The house at 502 Market Street in Brownsville, PA, built in 1904, fulfills the Brashears’ dream of owning a shop. “The house came to me in an odd way…my nephew told me to look at the house – I had driven past it a million times – and I had to bid on it. It was definitely fate. It needed some polish, but I have great support with my family.”

Brashear’s helpful nephew, Jeff Dascenzo, also calls the house home to his business in the basement, Rollin’ Stogies. Dascenzo’s hand-rolled cigar shop includes a lounge, while an airbrushed Rollin’ Stogies trailer can be seen outside, used for rolling cigars at shows on the road.

After winning her bid for the house, Brashear had ornate, vintage cast iron radiators installed, while a wide staircase provides easy access to more treasures upstairs, including a Civil War shop in the finished attic. Rocky and Jeff re-enact Civil War battles fought originally by the 40th Pennsylvania Artillery, though items in their shop represent both sides of the historic conflict.

Antiques on sale by the Brashears include Rocky’s silver salt and pepper shaker set from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and a globe with continents, but no markings. Though the salt and pepper set is tarnished, Brashear notes “It’s best to leave the patina, but it’s okay to clean off the dirt.”

The unmarked globe in a stand was a curiosity, initially, though through some research it was revealed to be an aeronautic training globe; flight paths would be drawn on and examined before being erased.

In addition to the Brashears’ own pieces for sale, antiques, collectables, retro, and vintage items are offered by a number of vendors renting space at the Emporium, filling its four stories with items Brashear says focus on classics ready to be “reloved and rehomed,” including “old radios, glassware, kitchen things like you would have seen in your great grandmother’s kitchen.”

When it comes to identifying what differentiates an antique from vintage items, or Americana, the following clarifies each:

The Smoot-Hawley Tarriff Act of 1930, in Title II, Section 201, Schedule 16, Par. 1811, defines antiques as:

Works of art (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustration of the progress of the arts, works in bronze, marble, terra cotta, parian, pottery, or porcelain, artistic antiquities, and objects of art of ornamental character or educational value which shall have been produced prior to the year 1830, but the free importation of such objects shall be subject to such regulations as to proof of antiquity as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe.

emporium1In short, any object over 100 years old (not including automobiles) – which includes more items every new year – is classified as an antique. These items are commonly not mass-produced and are usually of high craftsmanship and artful aesthetics.

Vintage objects are less than 100, but least 20 years old – though there is debate that “true” vintage pieces or clothing are between 50 and 100 years in age. Fedoras from the 1940s, chrome kitchen sets of the 1950s, even that Walkman in your drawer from the 1970s, are a few examples.

Retro – Not always a compliment when it comes to clothing, these items, considered “out of date” for our time, still command interest and desirability when it comes to certain collectors.

Collectible – These are sometimes mass-produced, such as Beanie Babies, sometimes not – old Roman coins, and could fall into antique, retro, or vintage categories.

Americana – The Oxford dictionary online these items as “Things associated with the culture and history of America, especially the United States.” A new, tinwork watering can that looks like the one your grandmother once used, or even license plates from a favorite old car, fall into this category.

Regardless of what shoppers search for at Market Street Emporium, the friendly service, home-like atmosphere, and broad selection of products are sure to please. Market Street Emporium’s new kitchen and dining room areas are available for reservation, and potential vendors may contact Kim Brashear to discuss their needs at 724-785-8512.

Story by Keren Lee Dreyer for Pennsylvania Bridges