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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

Antiques on Second

Jennifer Smith, who owns Antiques on Second at Second and Franklin Streets, practically has antiquing in her blood. “My mom and grandma used to drag me to antique fairs, flea markets and garage sales when I was a little kid. I loved it.”

Owner, Jennifer Smith

When Antiques on Second opened, she quickly became a regular customer. Looking at all the antiques she owned, it occurred to her that she could sell some of them. “I had a lot of ‘50s kitchen stuff, vintage clothing, accessories and books I’d collected over the years, and approached Antiques on Second about selling it. I started with a shelf space about fifteen years ago.” That “shelf” became her own section in the store. Jennifer continued to buy inventory, and took over two more spaces. One day, Molly Silcox, the store owner, offered to take it up a notch, “Want to buy the business?” It was pretty much a no-brainer for Jennifer to say, “Yes,” almost immediately.

This year marks the 20th anniversary that Antiques on Second has been open. While some might celebrate with a cake, Jennifer celebrated with a sledgehammer.

“Lola Manning, who started this business, wanted to expand into the suite next door, and so did Molly, who owned the store until I purchased it three years ago. It’s been a dream to expand into that space for twenty years.” As soon as the next-door neighbor retired and closed her shop, Smith scooped it up and tore down the wall between the two businesses. The store is now 30% larger, allowing her to show even more vendors.

Why the love affair with antiques? “It’s the allure of a bygone time,” Jennifer said. “I love the glamour, beauty and nostalgia of the past. Stuff was well made then and aesthetics were important. It’s much more interesting than most things made today. Plus, it keeps things out of the landfill.” She adds that her house is not a ‘50s house, despite that being one of her favorite eras. “I have a pink wall phone, but it’s not even hooked up any more.” It’s always been a big topic with her children and their friends.

Interest in antiques changes from time-to-time, and it’s strong now. Jennifer says that her customers defy characterization, and are extremely varied in age, income and interests. “Younger adults, who are all about recycling, appreciate the quality and beauty of older things.” There are price points for everyone. “You can spend one dollar or thousands.”

Antiques on Second features Boho Chic, MCM, Shabby Chic, Asian, 1920’s, Country Primitive and more. They also have a giant record collection and vintage clothing and accessories,” Jennifer said. “Many locals have been regulars since the store opened. Weekends can be 50-50 locals to visitors. “Out-of-towners are constantly complimenting the merchandise and the merchandising.”

Antiques on Second currently has 28 vendors. “They are the greatest. They made the move so much easier, painting and helping to complete the expansion.” Jennifer also got unexpected help when a Napa High woodshop teacher, who was doing the flooring installation, saw the vintage soda counter. “We pulled the old linoleum off the wood base of the counter and he said, ‘This would be a great project for my students.’” The students reinforced the wood base and replaced the vinyl. “They did a fantastic job, far better than we would have, and I am very grateful.” The students helping were Graham Gongora, Kaleb Matulich and Stephania Barrientos Sosa.

Antiquing as a family love is being passed on to the next generation. “My daughter started with her own shelf several years ago, and today has a beautiful space featuring Asian artifacts. My second oldest daughter started a sports memorabilia space and my son helps out with estate sales,” Jennifer said with the look of a proud mom. | 707.252.6353

1370 Second Street in Downtown Napa | Across from Grace’s Table

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Everyday


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