30 years ago we were interviewed on our 10-year anniversary as Olde Hope Antiques by a local newspaper. It struck us that we could say much of the same now as we come to the end of our 40th year, though the vacationers searching for antiques are far fewer as the internet has replaced the car as a means of traveling from shop to shop. As a result we took down our ‘open’ sign in 2001 and went to ‘by appointment’, and in 2014 we added a New York location. There have certainly been many changes in the past 40 years (let’s not discuss the physical ones) and yet the core principals of the business are as true now as then.
So for those who still take the time to read, here is the interview from 1986.
Early in our career as antiques dealers, we discovered the need to specialize – to choose a particular area that interested us, become as knowledgeable as possible about it, and develop a clientele with similar interests. What struck us most was the wonderful painted and decorated furniture of the American country craftsmen of the 18th and early 19th centuries. And along with the furniture goes what is broadly referred to as “folk art”, such hand-crafted items as quilts, hooked rugs, pottery, weather vanes and paintings. The special warmth, originality and simplicity of design of these pieces drew us to them almost instinctively; and this was at a time when most buyers were looking for refinished pine, maple, and cherry. Not so today, when the supply of good, early painted pieces is far exceeded by the demand, consequently the ever rising prices in this area of the antiques market.
Another thing we discovered early was that we had to reach a larger audience than was walking into our shop off the street, first located in New Hope and presently on Route 202. Thus we became involved in “show business”, exhibiting in antiques shows from Boston to Houston and a number of places in between. This gave us the opportunity to meet collectors and dealers from all parts of the country, many of whom frequent our shop on their trips east or communicate by mail. Through our shows and national advertising, such as the magazine “Antiques”, we have developed a clientele representing virtually every state in the country. All these people share a common bond, their love of American country antiques. What a pleasure to have a stranger from Texas or California walk into the shop and say “a good friend told us we must stop and visit you on our trip to Bucks County”. Suddenly a stranger becomes a new friend and perhaps a new client.
After ten years we find ourselves with less time to be away from our shop as more people become aware of us. We have noticed a marked increase in the number of new faces coming in from the surrounding area of Bucks and Hunterdon counties. Be they collectors, dealers, designers, or people wanting to furnish their homes with a “country look”, we try to cater to each person’s specific needs and wishes. Often, we find ourselves visiting homes to see the specific spot where a piece is needed and giving design consultations. Occasionally, we take on the job of designing a room or an entire house using country antiques. Knowledge, honesty, enthusiasm, and value are the keys to making contented customers who return year after year and recommend us to their friends.”