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When my husband and I started our business in 1978 it was to be an outlet for local artists. Antiques were an afterthought as a means of displaying the art work and having another potential commodity for sale, hence we included the word antiques in our name, Ogee’s Art & Antiques. We bought oak furniture pieces (oak was popular in the 70’s in Idaho) and began refinishing until we had a good foundation to open our shop. We opened the door two weeks before our Grand Opening and after the first week we realized our shop fixtures, the antique furniture, were gone. We raced to the auction house, feverishly refinished more oak and had a respectable showing when we officially opened the doors. That was the beginning of our recycling business.

We were not like the typical antiques dealers, we had not been collectors. We started selling antiques as a business, as a means to make money to pay bills. However it didn’t take long before we realized that we gained pleasure from restoring discarded pieces of furniture and giving them new life, in essence, recycling them.

We reluctantly gave up on the art gallery aspect of our business and branched out with the antiques and collectibles. We have dealt with many facets of the business over the years. Besides furniture, we have restored antique lighting fixtures bringing new light to new homes. Old toys bring smiles to new generations. We have taken care that most everything we sell works as it did when it was originally sold whether it is a wind up toy or an electric toaster. We have always encouraged our customers to use the items they purchased. Why not buy an old ice cream scoop instead of new one, they both do the same job? An old pottery planter has just as much use today as it originally did and it keeps one more item out of the landfill. External horn phonographs have always been one of our favorites. Sure they look great but we sold them emphasizing they were to be used and enjoyed and not meant to be dust collectors…plus they’re still fun if the lights go out or if you want entertainment on that one night a week when you chose to not to use the electricity!

We feel the antiques business is unique. We are only caretakers of items, recycling them, often with a bit of a facelift, allowing old items to have a new life with someone else. It is important to us that we don’t except that we are a disposable society and that we preserve what we can of the past and recycle our heritage for future generations.

The antiques business is truly the ultimate recycling vehicle. We had always been aware of the importance of recycling but the longer we have been in the antiques business the more we appreciate the opportunity we have to recycle more than just paper, glass, tin and aluminum. So stop by and visit us on Ruby Lane and “don’t forget to recycle!”

Submitted by Debra Helton
www.rubylane.com/shops/ogees

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