St John Antiques has been in business for almost 40 years. We started out in the ground level basement of our 1857 Galveston home, open on weekends only. Both of us had full time day jobs back then, but we were exploring the potential for running this business during our retirement years. From the house shop, we expanded to group shops in Galveston. Over time we were in Somewhere in Time, Collectors Gallery and La Maison Rouge. We moved from Galveston to the hill country and when we did, we relocated our business in Comfort, Texas where we grew our space over time in the big mall to nearly 600 sq ft. We moved back to Galveston after Hurricane Ike, purchasing our building on Postoffice and 20th street and building our loft apartment. We moved our antique business from Comfort into our Galveston building in 2014, 4 years ago. Our goal for the “final move” was to both survive the move. We did it.
A primary goal in this business has always been to buy and sell quality. We gravitated to vintage collectibles, though we always have carried a small level of antique furniture. We carry a lot of merchandise, and there’s a great deal of diversity in our inventory. Like Frances tells folks, we sell anything from vintage kitchen stuff to Tiffany. We pride ourselves in carrying only vintage and antiques. We define vintage as generally being from the 50’s and earlier. We try hard not to have new or reproduction items in St John Antiques, including our stock and our vendors’. We try to keep the shop clean and well organized. We get lots and lots of comments about how great our shop is, how cool the merchandise, and how well organized it is. We guess we’re succeeding on that count.
We have finally reached the point where our antiques business is our sole business. Frances has been doing this for 20 years now as her full time job. Harry retired 2-3 years ago and is now working full time for Frances. This keeps us both young.
So, where do we find our stuff? This is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Question). Harry always responds that we haven’t been to a garage sale in 35 years, so that pretty much addresses the quality of the merchandise. We also don’t often attend auctions, although good estate auctions can be a great picking ground for this business. We do a lot of our shopping on long shopping trips to the midwest, northeast and southeast US. We spend 5-6 weeks a year on such trips, hitting flea markets (large and small) antique shows, country shops and big antique malls. We try to stay OFF the interstates as much as possible. Doing this, we stumble onto more interesting venues. We also hit estate sales in New Jersey when we visit our grand kids who live there. Frances also spends 2 weeks a year in Texas’ own huge flea market, Round Top. Over the years we have made many contacts where we are able to purchase the kind of merchandise we love to sell at St John Antiques.