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Searching for treasure on Folsom’s Sutter Street

Folsom Lake Entertainer
By: Margaret Snider, Folsom Lake Entertainer
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Treasure hunting doesn’t always require a shovel or SCUBA gear, as owners of historic Folsom antique stores can attest because collecting treasures has been a lifetime’s work for many of them. Gray’s Place Antiques is one of those. “I’ve been on this street and in this business for 42 years,” said owner Richard Gray. “I’m still on a learning curve and haven’t seen it all.” He presses a button on one of his juke boxes and Lefty Frizzell sings out, “If you’ve got the money, honey, I’ve got the time.” “I was just as interested in it when I was seven, eight years old,” Gray said. “My playmate sweetheart and I would go out to the thrift stores and look for items, and we still have the majority of what we bought back then.” Emily Schell, owner of Emily’s Corner Antiques opened her shop 29 years ago. “I’ve always had the interest,” said Schell, “ever since I can remember.” They keep some furniture, but jewelry now is their most popular item along with vintage glass and pottery. A large variety of memory-jogging, intricately fashioned, useful and decorative items grace the shelves. A Little Golden Book goes for $1.50. A high end 9-piece French dining room set is priced at $16,000. “This little chatelaine is probably around 1780s to 1840s,” Schell said. “A woman used to wear it on her belt, and inside this case there are beautiful little tools for running a house.” The Carriage House next door harbors some coins that Rees Williams, husband of owner Joyce, states are from Babylon, and could be early Christian era. “My wife has a lot of knowledge,” Rees Williams said. “I’ve helped her, but I’ve only been truly involved in it for about two years.” Their shop has been on Sutter Street for 40 years, and what customers want, he says, depends on their purpose. “Customers who are collectors are looking for additions to their collection,” Rees said. “A lot of our work is for home decorations. We have quite a few dolls, and we have a lot of silverware.” Folsom Mercantile Antique Mall hosts many different merchants, each with their own specialty. Natalie Schafer carries on with the business, which she owned with late husband Rudy since the 1980s. “It’s very well known for its variety, because we have so many individuals,” said Sandy Yates, a dealer at the location. “You never know what you’re going to find here.” In his section, Larry Jeannette has many old-time phonographs. “I’ve been dealing in antiques since 1958,” Jeannette said. “I was intrigued by Edison and the cylinder phonograph. I couldn’t get enough.” Every antique store has its own unique style and clientele. Katrina’s Antique and Vintage European Embellishments specializes in French trims, antique and vintage fabrics, and some Edwardian clothing from the 1920s to 1940s. Her customers come from all types of backgrounds. “I’ve had men call me from New Jersey and Washington,” said owner Katrina Rudge. “They’re milliners and they make fedora hats and they want the grosgrain ribbons. I have Civil War re-enactors, living history, the doll world, artists, interior designers, fashion designers.” Karryann Pallitto, owner of Gracefully Vintage, celebrates the new shabby chic. She has a large range of buyers. “A lot of men like the wood crates and the industrial stuff,” Pallitto said. “Yesterday there was a mother/daughter in here and the daughter was doing her room in French stuff. A customer that was in here earlier has a barn house that she’s wanting to switch into the more shabby.” Keeping up with the times, many of the stores now also do business online through eBay. “About half my merchandise, dollar-wise, is sold on eBay,” Gray said. “You’ve got to roll with the punches.” For more information on the shops, visit historicfolsom.org.