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SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERS Aaron and Gail Ziegler: Country Creations Antiques
In Their words: our story that started 40 + years ago
How It Started
My wife, Gail, wanted to go back to work when our daughter started kindergarten. I found an ad for a small craft shop that was being sold by the owner. It was close to where we lived and we made a deal and purchased her inventory for $1,000.00 and rented the premises. About 4 months later, I lost my job and started looking but until I found another job, worked with my wife in the small store and taught craft classes and added painting classes. About 6 months later we were growing and found a 2,000 sq foot building three blocks away on the main street of the small town. We decided to take the plunge and rented the building. This was a big decision since we only had 400 sq feet of store at the time. We decided that since I had spent several years in the retail business working for others, this was the time to put the experience and work into doing somthing for us instead.
Scouting For Antiques
Some friends were dealing in antiques at the time and we approached them about putting some of their merchandise in the store to fill up the empty space until we could buy more supplies. They agreed and would give us a commission on anything we sold of theirs. It just grew from there.
Growing The Antique Business
We keep reinvesting the profits and the business grew and soon we found that the antiques were doing very well and started to buy some on our own to sell. The business evolved over time and we ended up with a full size quilt shop that went well with the antiques. My wife and I published patterns and books on quilting and cross-stitching but she found she liked collecting old quilts better than making new ones. Thus started the antique quilt collection and sales.
Expanding Our Floor Space
During this time we also expanded into the entire 4,000 sq foot building when the second half became available. After 16 years the building's owners retired and sold the building. We had to decide if we were going to relocate or close. I had finially gone back to work after 14 years in the store and let my wife and 2 part time employees run the store. We could not find a suitable location that met our needs and would pass the village inspections and ordances so we closed the shop. We had been doing flea markets for many years as a way of disposing of our old inventory and also finding more antiques, so we just expanded into this new avenue of selling and found that we liked the new freedom it gave us. We were no longer tied down to a store 6 days a week.
In the late 1990's we started to use the internet and it was one of the best decisions we made. Two weeks after signing up with a web site provider for selling antiques, we had our first sale and it has just continued to grow. When GoAntiques.com purchased our provider, we became a charter member and have been with them ever since. Our web pages now contain over 5600 items including over 100 antique quilts, plus quilt tops and blocks, over 800 different pieces of vintage fabrics for restoring or repairing antique quilts and lots of sewing collectibles. Our course my passion for old books has also been included with over 1,000 vintage children's books now on our web pages also.
Ups And Downs
We took gambles and won and we also gambled and lost, but have always come out ahead in the long run. We have had a lot of fun and continue to meet a lot of interesting people and still like what we are doing. The internet has opened up a entire world of customers and also new friends all over the globe that we never would have even dreamed was possible years ago.
What The Future Will Bring
We just hope that we can continue this for several more years before we have to quit because we may not be able to handle the physical aspects of doing antique shows around the country but then the internet is still there.
Aaron and Gail Ziegler
AGZ Enterprises Inc.
Country Creations Antiques.