Article and photos by Janet Schultz
A love of antiquing and an abundance of those treasures led Ernie and Debbie McPeek to the opening of the Lewiston Antique Mall in Sanborn.
For the past two years the McPeek's have been leasing space at the Schultz's Antique Cooperative in Clarence.
"It was successful and we decided to open a shop," Debbie said.
"We chose the Town of Lewiston because it's known for its culture and cultural events. Antiques fit in nicely," said Ernie.
The Sanborn site lends itself to even more opportunity with the heavy traffic on Route 31, the proximity to the Canadian/U.S. border, and the other antique venues in the area make it a destination for antique hunters.
"I spent a lot of time in Lewiston and this is a friendly community," Ernie said.
"Every time we had something that needed to be done, a helping hand came over," Debbie said. "This is a great little community."
"People we didn't even know were here to help," she continued.
Locals will remember the property as that owned by the Wendt family, and the building that now houses priceless treasurers was home to tractors, trucks and tools.
The McPeek's will feature antiques, collectibles and vintage items in their shop. They are ready to fill the building with more than 30 vendors who will have a choice of size for their area.
While many see eBay, Craig's List, Amazon and other Web-based sites as taking from the physical shops, the McPeek's don't agree.
"People like to feel and touch things. They want to look at something, walk away and then come back," Ernie said. "It's the fun of 'picking' and finding unique things that make this work.
"When we go picking, we look for things we think people back here will enjoy."
"It's fun to find something we really like, bring it back and see other people like it as much as we did," Debbie said.
In Sanborn, "pickers" can go from the Lewiston Antique Mall, to the Sanborn Mill, General Store and Shawnee Antique Barn, among others that can be found all over Niagara County.
"You come in here and if we don't have something, we'll refer you to another shop and those shops will refer customers here," Ernie said. "It's a community within a community."
"We looked for a place that had a cluster of shops and Sanborn was the ideal location," Debbie said.
Not only will the Lewiston Antique Mall be open every day, except Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the McPeek's will hold a Lewiston Outdoor Market on Saturdays and Sundays where anyone can purchase a table for $10 per day and sell their antiques, collectibles, vintage and miscellaneous items. They also plan to have local farmers sell produce.
"Once a month we will have an appraiser here and you will be able to bring in your own antiques for appraisal," said Ernie, who added they will be setting dates and times for that shortly.
They will also maintain a wish list for customers.
"If someone comes in and they are looking for something specific, we will write it down and when we go picking we'll look for that item," Debbie said. "We want to be customer-friendly."
Only open two weeks, they have had visitors from Canada and a gentleman from Germany.
"This is a great location; we welcome everyone," Ernie said. "We want it to be an enjoyable experience.
The Lewiston Antique Mall is located at 2692 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn, in the Town of Lewiston.
The McPeeks are still seeking vendors who want to bring their merchandise to Sanborn.
For more information, call 716-628-0796 or visit the McPeeks at http://www.lewistonantiquemall.com.