“Well, look at that,” said John Pataky, a customer of Relics when it first opened four years ago. He was admiring a carved oak table with some carved designs on the cane-backed chairs in one of the booths. This dining room table has two large leaves and hails from the early 1900s.
Bill Boyd, Pataky’s friend from Bryant, Ala., loves to check out Relics as often as possible. On this trip, Boyd was surprised to spy a well-known Holt Howard olive jar, circa roughly from the 1950s, in the back of one of the glass display cabinets at Relics. In his heyday, Howard made a myriad of different decorative pieces, including kitchenware and figurines.
“Everything is presented so nicely,” Pataky said. “It’s easy to get around in each booth.”
But Relics is so much more.
Walking into Relics is like walking into the past.
“We are an antique store/decor shop,” said Randall Hamilton, antique dealer. “We are not your grandma’s shop. We have a variety of items that are unique. You won’t find them anywhere else.”
You name it, Relics probably has it. Relics offers a rare collection of items featuring collections from the past 100 years — from Victorian linen to 30s, 40s, and 50s retro-styled home decor, handmade primitives to antique rhinestones. Some are true antiques. For example, a set of brown transfer-ware dishes was made in the late 1800s. Others are truly vintage, like a crocheted-linen blouse or a black velvet opera cape.
“You can’t find these around anymore,” Hamilton said. Some of the items are 50 years old. Some, however, are close to 200 years old. For example, an ebonized étagère piece with ornate display cabinets from the late 1800s stands in one of the booths that also features a pair of black evening shoes from around 1910 that is decorated with jet work — a stone or glassware beadwork from that era. “About 90 percent of more of the items in Relics is a part of our American history and starting from around the 1790s.”
Owner, Laura Martz, was a collector herself first. In fact, in addition to 10 additional dealers, the rest of Martz’ Relics shop contains pieces she has found and researched herself.
“I carry unique and unusual vintage items,” she said, proudly. Each booth features different eras of time, from primitives to more antique Majolica pottery pieces. Every piece tells a unique and different story. “Customers need to look around.”
But Relics has customers from all across the country.
One reason why is the prices.
“People don’t realize they can get nice antiques at a reasonable price,” she said. Martz’s philosophy is to keep the prices low enough so her customers can actually afford them and be able to enjoy living with them.
“A lot of times you’ll find that treasure you’re looking for — and on your budget,” Hamilton said. “Most of the time, you’ll find something for any age group, style, taste and need.”
And the great selection is due largely to the fact that Martz goes out hunting for new pieces often, she said. She has done and constantly still is doing research. She also looks at pieces almost everyday that folks bring in to sell to her. People can come in and pick her brain for knowledge about various pieces. And they will get a fair price. They’ll know it’s fair because they can come in and look at the price on the piece once it is put out for sale.
Martz opened the shop in July 2007 and is approaching her fourth-year anniversary next month. Every spring and fall, she holds an open house. The next one will be held in September.