At its new location in Windham, the “Den of Antiquities” antique and vintage shop is a treasure trove of childhood memories and do-it-yourself possibilities and each item sold there has a story to tell.
Now found at 201 Roosevelt Trail (Route 302) in Windham, “The Den” as customers like to call it, is open this summer on Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features some of the most exciting discoveries to be found in the Sebago Lakes Region.
“We are a multi-vendor shop,” said ‘The Den’ co-owner Sonja Nielsen. “This allows us to have a large and diverse variety of styles and merchandise. We have vendors that specialize in vintage kitchen ware, vintage textiles, florals, tools, furniture, art, toys, coins, and jewelry. We also have artisan wares such as handmade soaps, herbal teas and body products, and giftware. We also sell a line of chalk paint and accessories.”
Across America, sales of antiques are flourishing, courtesy of the popularity of television shows like “Antiques Roadshow” and “American Pickers.” For members of nearly every generation, interest in antiques and items from long ago seems to trigger recollections of a simpler life and a yearning to own a piece of the past.
Nielsen said she’s found that in the antique business there are highs and lows in the value and popularity of certain items, but the business is beloved by many because of its unique link to nostalgia and precious memories that her customers associate with family and the quality and versatility of old furniture which can be restored and repurposed to meet almost every budget.
“The most often-heard comment from our customers refer to the variety of goods and the weekly and almost daily new merchandise,” Nielsen said. “In addition, most of our regular shoppers will tell you how welcoming and comfortable they feel here. We try very hard to engage with and to get to know our customers on a personal level.”
If a customer is seeking a particular item not found at ‘The Den,” Nielsen and co-owner Jim Gammon will try and track it down for them.
“We maintain a wish list for clients,” Nielsen said. “We will work with our vendors and other contacts to try and find specific items. We work with clients from all over the world. We have the capabilities of shipping and sending large freight items all over.”
According to Nielsen, prices at “The Den” are highly competitive and merchandise is constantly revolving, so each shopping experience there is different.
“We have more vendors than we have been able to accommodate before, so we have an even larger offering of new and ever-changing merchandise,” she said. “We are always looking to buy one item or a whole estate.”
Nielsen said “The Den” is currently working on bringing in more Do-It-Yourself products and hopes to create a studio space for people to visit and work on projects.
Since starting their first brick and mortar antique store six years ago in Westbrook, Nielsen and Gammon say they have strived to assist customers through outstanding customer service and a willingness to help.
“You have to love what you do, care about the people,” Nielsen said. “Everything else will fall into place.”
For those interested in antiques and vintage merchandise, the hunt for treasured items heightens the shopping experience.
Many antique and vintage shoppers in the Sebago Lakes Region and beyond first came to know “The Den” from visiting its former location on Route 302 in Westbrook.
“We rapidly outgrew that space. When the opportunity arose to purchase the new location in Windham, we jumped on it,” Nielsen said.
The shop’s new site is an 1840s farmhouse and barn and had been used by previous owner as an antique shop known as The Ruby Slipper.
“It’s a wonderful old gal and we are happy to be the new caretakers of the property and to bring her back to life,” Nielsen said. “So not only do we love her, we call her the old gal, but it met all the needs for our business.”
For customers who are at a high risk or require special shopping accommodations, earlier hours are available by appointment.
For more information about the “Den of Antiquities,” call 207-650-3007 or visit www.denofantiquitiesme.com or connect to them on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OctoberHouseAntiques/. <