The final time Antiques and The Arts Weekly encountered Carroll Swam of South York, Penn., he was seen strolling towards the exit of the spring 2018 Higher York Antiques Present with a small instrument case tucked underneath his arm. Naturally, we needed to ask him to indicate us what was inside – a Gibson late Twenties-era banjo mandolin that he was including to his assortment of acoustic stringed devices. Swam is not only a bluegrass music fan; he and his spouse, Linda Sarubin, run the Gatchellville Retailer in New Park, Penn., crammed with antiques, classic musical devices and instruments.
Your retailer is described as an antiques retailer the best way antiques shops was. Are you able to elaborate?
Years in the past antiques retailers tended to be owner-operated the place the shopper might truly discuss to the supplier, as an alternative of a mall setting with many sellers who could or not be available. We don’t do consignments. (We’ve got sufficient hassle protecting observe of our personal issues!) We wish to assume that we’re carrying on the custom of customized service and tales swapped over the potbelly range.
The shop has a little bit of a historical past, no?
The Gatchellville Retailer has fairly a historical past. Some kind of retailer has been on this location since someday earlier than 1850. Matthew McCall purchased it in 1865 simply after leaving the Union Military. He operated the shop till the late 1800s. Promoting from the 1870s reveals all kinds of merchandise, together with clothes, china, fancy footwear, horse feed and, after all, groceries. In some methods, our easy nation retailer was fairly fancy, promoting Wedgwood Queensware, French fragrance and hand-printed wallpaper. One other proprietor was there till 1918 when the Theophel household bought it. The Theophels operated it till 1949 once they shut down the final retailer to enter the poultry enterprise. The constructing in the present day seems to be very like it did in 1890 when McCall was right here. His title continues to be etched in glass above the entrance door of the shop, simply because it was greater than 100 years in the past. I do know that Linda usually feedback that, when she is writing up a sale, she seems to be up at McCall’s title on the door and wonders what he would consider how the world has modified since he owned the shop…how we do enterprise with a contemporary factor known as a cellphone, with a contemporary factor known as the web. Linda is satisfied that she hears footsteps of the earlier shopkeepers upstairs when she is within the retailer late at evening, however to this point I’ve not skilled that.
When did you and Linda begin your enterprise, and what was the impetus to create the enterprise?
We purchased the property, which incorporates the shop, our home, a barn and some different buildings, in 2002, after we had been newly engaged and on the lookout for a spot to arrange our married life. I used to be on the lookout for a home within the nation, and she or he was on the lookout for a home within the metropolis. Linda had all the time been a metropolis woman, however when she noticed this property she agreed that it was meant for us. Elements of the constructing hadn’t been utilized in greater than 50 years. We needed to pry the basement door open. Linda has been an antiques supplier her entire life-she had a enterprise in downtown Baltimore on Baltimore’s Vintage Row. And I had all the time purchased and offered from my previous barn in my earlier dwelling. At first we thought we might simply use the shop for storage – it’s in a fairly distant a part of York County – however someday we ran a few advertisements and opened up. We by no means in 1,000,000 years thought that we might have a profitable retail enterprise in such a distant location, however we now have been pleasantly shocked with our loyal following. We discovered folks loved coming to our a part of the world and enterprise grew.
What was the impact of the previous yr’s Covid-19 lockdown on the enterprise?
We aren’t open over the winter and, after all, we didn’t open in April as we might usually. Later in the summertime we opened briefly with excessive restrictions. Simply Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm. Though we had been solely open a number of hours every weekend, we managed to do enterprise. We arrange an out of doors seating space with umbrellas the place prospects might loosen up and be socially distant – each for much-needed socializing, and to verify there weren’t too many individuals within the retailer at one time. When Covid charges went larger we closed down once more. Linda is accountable for our social media presence (one other factor that we expect Mathew McCall can be laughing at) and we now have an lively following for the shop on each Fb and Instagram. Due to on-line promoting, our enterprise has truly flourished this previous yr. I miss having the shop open. There’s nothing like displaying a buyer round and assembly his wants in particular person, however we hope to be open once more quickly…beginning in April or Could.
Do you take part as a supplier at reveals or is your whole enterprise run by the shop?
We do a handful of reveals every year along with the shop. In fact, all of final yr’s reveals had been canceled and we don’t know what the approaching yr has in retailer for us. We do the Antiques at Kimberton Present twice a yr, The Bloomsburg Antiques Present, the Penn Dry Items Present and we now have arrange at Brimfield. Linda focuses on vintage buttons, textiles, stitching gadgets and vintage clothes…so she has participated in a number of textile and needle arts reveals. And I’m a classic automobile nut, so we all the time arrange on the annual Vintage Vehicle Present in Hershey every year. I promote vintage auto ephemera, and Linda sells classic clothes that individuals purchase to put on to their automobile meets.
Inform us about your stringed acoustic instrument assortment. What’s in it? Oldest or most fascinating instance?
I’ve been enthusiastic about classic stringed devices for a very long time. I’ve guitars, mandolins, fiddles, banjos, ukuleles and a few uncommon devices – nearly something with strings. I even have some bass fiddles. A few violins date again round 200 years. Lots of the older devices are from the late Nineteenth Century or early Twentieth Century. One in every of my favorites is a 1918 Gibson F4 mandolin. It’s a magnificence and produces a really particular classic tone. It got here to me with an in depth historical past of its unique proprietor. That’s uncommon for an older instrument. Normally, they’ve been handed by many palms over time. One other fascinating instrument is a Kay upright bass that has been customized with large letters…”Charlie.” It was a kind of purchases that was actually laughable. We stopped at a music retailer on our method dwelling from Brimfield with a really packed van. (Humorous the way you all the time appears to return dwelling with greater than you began with – even if you happen to truly promote lots.) I simply swung into this music retailer…Linda sat within the automobile for 3 minutes, and I got here out with this enormous bass. On a scorching summer time day, after driving for six hours, we needed to unpack the entire van after which repack it. This bass turned out to have fairly a historical past and I amazingly discovered an previous picture of it, in motion, together with its unique proprietor, Charlie.
What number of devices do you play?
I could make just a little music on just about all of them, however my essential instrument is guitar.
How did you come to understand bluegrass music?
A number of occasions influenced me musically. After I was very younger, my dad performed the guitar. His guitar broke and he stopped enjoying, however I all the time remembered it. One night he took me to the barber store in New Freedom. I used to be in all probability about 4 or 5. I acquired my haircut after which we sat down in chairs within the barbershop. To my shock, a number of males pulled out devices and began enjoying. I used to be so impressed. The music was old-time nation not too completely different from bluegrass. Later I began listening to every kind of music on just a little Philco radio we had. I might dial in sounds from throughout and I used to be drawn to early nation and bluegrass music in addition to blues and a few primitive rock and roll.
Do you’ve gotten a band? In that case, what’s it known as and the place do you play when dwell music makes a comeback?
I’ve carried out in a variety of bands by the years. I play in a band known as Bluestone; we now have been working for greater than 25 years. We play all kinds of jobs: live shows, out of doors festivals, weddings, festivals, non-public events, carnivals and wherever we’re wished. We even performed at Governor Wolf’s inaugural ball! We’ve got tried to have music days on the retailer a number of instances every year, with the entrance garden crammed with musicians and tables crammed with pies. Hopefully, we’ll return to that custom when Covid settles down.
A collector good friend lately instructed me that the classic guitar market appears to have picked up once more, with costs zooming upwards. Should you personal nothing however previous Martins, are you in fine condition?
I believe accumulating classic devices is like many different fields of accumulating, similar to artwork, cash, furnishings or people artwork. Acquire what you’re keen on – what you’ve gotten a ardour for, and should not have too many expectations of financial acquire. As for classic guitars, it’s all the time enjoyable to look, and good guitars are a pleasure to play and to listen to. There does appear to be widespread curiosity out there and previous Martins are bringing good cash. Who is aware of how the market will development? Will music of the long run nonetheless characteristic guitars? I hope so. As current day collectors get older what’s going to occur? I’m very inspired by the numerous youthful musicians who’re coming into our retailer as of late. Some are on the lookout for starting devices at a lower cost level. That’s comprehensible. However there are various younger musicians now, who’re upgrading to raised devices that may stand the take a look at of time and will probably be their trademark devices. My greatest guitar, a 1946 Martin, I bought greater than 50 years in the past. I believe there’ll proceed to be a powerful marketplace for high-quality devices for the foreseeable future, so I’ll proceed to purchase and promote devices that attraction to me.
Does your spouse Linda have a accumulating specialty as effectively?
Oh my! Linda has a variety of pursuits. She has been shopping for and promoting vintage buttons for years. She was fortunate to have the ability to inherit the majority of “new previous inventory” stock from a button retailer in downtown Baltimore that had been in enterprise because the late 1800s. I might say that we now have one of many largest picks of vintage and classic buttons that you’ll find wherever. She sells them to prospects everywhere in the world. She additionally likes Bakelite jewellery, books, ephemera, classic clothes, and she or he usually says she seems to be for something that may be present in an aged girl’s prime dresser drawer 100 years in the past. -W.A. Demers
Charlie the Bass.
The Gatchellville Retailer has been on this location since someday earlier than 1850.
Linda Sarubin has one of many largest picks of vintage and classic buttons that one can discover wherever.
The Gatchellville Retailer.