Antique appreciation — Old Thing Antiques store opened as Moscow members share interest for odd, old
Moscow has an active appreciation for old things, Gary Peterson said.
This is shown by the five thrift stores and now three antique shops scattered across town.
Peterson opened his shop, Old Thing Antiques, on Sept. 15 to fulfill a lifelong dream. He said he will turn 60 on his next birthday.
“There are some things, if I want to do in life I better do them now,” he said.
When the Yarn Underground moved to Washington Street, Deadbeat Records took the basement and Peterson took the old record store.
“It had always kind of been a dream of mine, and when this place came open I said, ‘why not?’” he said.
Peterson invited fellow antique guru, Barbara Feil to join him in the shop. Feil said Peterson shares his space in exchange for her working two days a week.
“Works out great. I don’t have to pay rent, so anything I sell is gravy,” Feil said.
To Feil, working at the shop means Peterson can continue his career as a math teacher at the University of Idaho.
Peterson was a math teacher at Boise State University for 13 years before he decided to come to Moscow for law school. He practiced in Lewiston and Moscow before taking a math teaching position at UI.
“It seems like I’ve always had aspirations beyond the junk business,” Peterson said.
Similarly, Feil taught art in Palouse and Garfield before the two school districts joined.
Feil said she first got the antique bug 15 or 20 years ago. She inherited some things and she bought other things.
“Somehow they just take on a life of their own,” she said. “They breed in the basement.”
Peterson’s obsession with antiques started in high school. His said his art teacher owned an antique store.
“It’s always been a part of my life,” Peterson said.
Both Feil and Peterson have had booths in other shops, Peterson in Moscow’s Main Street Antique Mall and Feil in the now-defunct Square One Antiques in Pullman.
When Feil started in the antiques business, she said sales were good because of the economy.
Antique stores across the country have been in a decline, according to Russ Wheelhouse, who owns the antique shop around the corner from Old Thing.
“I don’t see it locally,” Peterson said. “I think Moscow has an active interest and appreciation for old things.”
The folks at Old Thing Antiques have a good relationship with their neighbor around the corner.
Feil said Wheelhouse was her mentor.
“He continues to advise me and help me out,” she said. “They don’t make them like Russ anymore.”
Peterson said both shops encourage customers to visit other area antique stores.
“Russ has been very welcoming and gracious,” Peterson said.
A tall rack of old Idaho license plates sits in front of the desk. They belong to Peterson. He also carries light fixtures and Revere Ware pots and pans — which are made from steel with copper bottoms.
He also carries a supply of cowboy boots, though they aren’t antique. He said boots are hard to buy in Moscow, and there are a lot of cowboys around.
“Or wannabe cowboys,” he said.
Feil specializes in jewelry, Native American antiques and vintage holiday items, especially Christmas, Halloween and Easter
“I’m getting older and don’t have much space, so I have to concentrate on things I can lift,” she said.
She said she looks everywhere she can for her items, from church rummage sales to estate sales to larger antiques shows in Spokane.
“I’m always scouring the area,” She said. “You develop an eye for what’s old and sellable.”
Feil said they need more young people to do antiques to keep the trade going.
Kasen Christensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org