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Mercedes goes back to market

Everything old is … now under a new roof in St. Jacobs.

Since the beginning of the month, Market Road Antiques has been taking on vendors and merchandise in a spot once home to the Sunday market.

Though just opened, one of Mercedes Corp.’s most recent ventures already boasts some 70 vendors.

Sigfred Knudsen, who restores antique clocks in his home shop, finds the format ideal at the newly opened Market Road Antiques in St. Jacobs.
Sigfred Knudsen, who restores antique clocks in his home shop, finds the format ideal at the newly opened Market Road Antiques in St. Jacobs.

That list is expected to grow to 100.

Even under the current economic conditions, business appears to be going well for the young outfit.

“It’s good. We’re fairly pleased. We’ve been open two weeks now and we’re very happy with how things are going,” said Sheila Shantz, Mercedes’ director of marketing operations.

“We’re very pleased.”

The new facility, located at 845 Weber St. N., is home to 22,000 square feet of shopping space, pending the completion of current renovations. Awash in natural light, the building makes for a pleasant shopping experience, Shantz said.

The plethora of vendors means that shoppers can count on a steady supply of always-changing lines of vintage products, including antique furniture, china, goblets, jewelry, books, collectibles, records and books.

“What’s nice about it is that because there are so many vendors they’re restocking, basically, daily. Because we have different dealers coming every day and restocking their booths, there’s always new products coming in and turning over,” said Shantz, counting carnival glass, Depression glass, and Lladro figurines among her personal favourite finds.

Open for business since Apr. 1, plans for the new antique shop got underway after the Waterloo Farmers’ Market closed in January. Heeding the call from several dealers who used to operate out of the Waterloo County Antique Warehouse, Mercedes decided to turn the former market building into Market Road Antiques.

Some of the dealers who had previously called the King Street facility their home subsequently moved into the new venue; a number of new dealers also signed up.

Vendors at Market Road Antiques get a booth to showcase their products. But instead of staffing the booth, vendors rely on a full-time and part-time centralized staff and billing system. Sales are looked after by the staff, and a commission percentage goes to the house.

Though not a new formula, the system appears to be working, said Shantz.

“A lot of the dealers are used to that model and they do like it.

“It allows them to set up in a number of different locations and they can still do different antique shows and it also gives them time to do their buying as well,” she said.

For Kitchener’s Sigfred Knudsen, who restores antique mechanical clocks from his home shop, the new store offers an indispensible opportunity, one that makes his business viable.

His primary work comes in restoring old clocks, mostly ones that date back to the 1920s and 1930s, but also some that go as far back as 1850. In addition to restoring clocks, Knudsen hunts for them at flea markets, garage sales and antique sales, restores them and then resells them, as well as other collectibles, at the antiques market.

“They staff it, and you pay a small rent. If you had to rent your own store and pay a staff member, it would be impossible. This is the only way.”

Market Road Antiques is open seven days a week.

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