San Anselmo’s antiques shop marks 40th year
POSTED: Friday, July 21, 2017 – 11:48 a.m.
UPDATED: 3 DAYS AGO
Legacy Antiques in San Anselmo celebrates its 40th anniversary. (Courtesy of Legacy Antiques)
Pepe Junek, owner of Legacy Antiques in San Anselmo, remembers when the town once reigned as the antiques capital of Northern California.
“People would be lined up outside the stores first thing in the morning and convention tourists would be bussed in from San Francisco,” he recalls. “We’d have flowers and cookies for them, and they’d have lunch and make a day of it.”
It was such a boom time that the San Anselmo Antiques Association was born, there was an annual antique fair, a shop directory was printed up and the town became such a destination it attracted outside press attention.
This year, Antiques Legacy, the town’s oldest and last-standing antiques collective of independent dealers, celebrates its 40th anniversary.
It’s outlived the 30 big antique shops, some smaller ones and at least four collectives that once thrived such as Creekside Antiques, the San Anselmo Country Store, Yankee Girl Antiques, Bank Street, Collective Antiques and the Pavillion.
The change has been, in part, because of high rents, the current trend toward minimalism, a big internet marketplace and lifestyle.
“We lost a lot of customers when real estate took a dive about eight years ago who never came back,” Junek recalls. “And, a lot of baby boomers are downsizing, younger people spend their disposable income on surround systems, big televisions and tech items, and nowadays, people would rather settle for reproduction pieces made out of particle board that they see in a home store catalog rather than the real well-made quality original.”
So, what keeps Antiques Legacy going after 40 years? Junek credits the building owner who keeps the rent affordable, which allows the dealers to stay.
Then he points to the spectrum of perspectives that 30 dealers bring to the whole shop. “It’s like 30 shops under one roof,” he says.
There’s Penny Somers, a dealer at Antiques Legacy for 10 years, who specializes in vintage lace, pristine linens, embroidered European tablecloths and Staffordshire figurines.
“When customers come in, I always ask them what room they want to decorate, what is their color scheme and style preferences,” Somers says. “That way I can show them the dealers that offer what they want.”
Norma Guerra-Shaner has been a dealer there since 1977 when it was Hunter’s Depot.
“We’ve always been good at creating an eclectic mix here,” Guerra-Shaner says. She seeks out first edition and children’s books, gold or sterling jewelry, Bakelite pieces, art pottery and vintage dolls.
“I remember how my dad would turn over a table or chair to see how well made it was,” she says. “I see some of the things people buy from Ikea I wouldn’t put in my garage so I’m excited when millennials come in looking for something interesting and well-made.”
David N Swaim
Town of San Anselmo Planning Commissioner
415 710 5504 phone/text
609 San Anselmo Ave
San Anselmo CA 94960