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Chamblee's antique row retailers caution against online buying
by Christine Fonville
cfonville@neighbornewspapers.com
October 29, 2013 10:36 AM | 2153 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye /Al Endel, owner of Atlanta Furniture Restoration, works on fixing the leg of an antique chair in his shop.
Staff / Katherine Frye /Al Endel, owner of Atlanta Furniture Restoration, works on fixing the leg of an antique chair in his shop.
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One of the highlights of shopping in Chamblee is its interesting and eclectic antique row district.

The area, which is home to a cluster of antique and restoration shops, attracts numerous collectors from around the metro area.

However, store owners like Al Endel of Atlanta Furniture Restoration said the market is always changing.

The age of the Internet, where a few clicks of a mouse can take customers on a shopping spree, has also affected the antiques business.

“I get a lot of people who bring in antiques they’ve bought online to be restored because the pieces have a flaw or major problem,” Endel said.

He said shopping for antiques online is especially tricky because photographs and descriptions may make an item seem better than it is.

“Shipping damage can also be an issue when you buy online,” Endel said.

Eilis McLoughlin, who owns and operates Arsenic & Old Lace II, said many customers come into her shop to compare prices to what they have seen online on websites like eBay.

“Sometimes customers can find a better price online, but then they miss out on hearing the story and history of the piece,” she said.

Similarly, Endel said antique shopping should be “a hands-on experience.”

“When shopping for a piece of antique furniture, I recommend picking it up and handling it to make sure it’s sturdy and durable,” he said.

Antique dealers are not only competing with an online market, but also retailers like IKEA who specialize in furniture for shoppers looking for a less costly alternative.

The drawback, Endel said, is that items are no longer made to last forever like they once were.

“I’ve seen tables selling for hundreds of dollars that are made from basic particle board and I wonder why people would spend that amount of money on a piece of furniture made with cheap materials when they can buy something that was made to last a lifetime,” he said. “Unfortunately, younger generations are learning the hard way that furniture and other furnishings are no longer made to last forever.”

Although the world may be moving towards a more fast-paced way of living, he said the craft of restoring antiques is not a rush-job business.

“I’m passionate about what I do and sometimes it may take longer to complete a job, but I’m a perfectionist and I try to do the best job I can on each piece,” Endel said.
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