Antiquing in the Sandhills

Posted On March 1, 2023

A run-down on local vintage stores to find the perfect antique

By Kevin Lewis

There are many reasons why antique and vintage dealers devote their lives to collecting objects and obsolete items for others to enjoy. The Sandhills has many stores in many guises which are variously called antique, consignment, resale shops, or charity shops, but the linking theme among them is preserving century old-plus wood furniture, fine china, crystal, tools and figurines, and convincing customers that owning something charming from the past is good for the soul.

The largest store is Design Market of the Sandhills (3086 NC Hwy 5, Aberdeen) which is repurposed from the defunct Guilistan carpet factory. (A small satellite store exists in the mall on Rt 22 near the Moore County Airport.)  Kathryn King presides over the 40,000 square foot building, and her blended vision has transformed interior design concepts in the area with her home décor ideas. King and her team can completely furnish a home in a unique blended design for people such as the military who have finally bought a permanent home. King has brought in specialists in European antique furniture who buy and ship to her store or her warehouses, wood crafters who make primitive tables from trees, and other longtime dealers in the antique, Mid-Century Modern and contemporary areas. There are several repurposed pieces on display, for example, low boy cabinets refitted for sinks. “Everything is saved, nothing goes into the landfill.”

Sanford Antique Mall (118 S Moore St, Sanford) offers something for everyone, and why not? At 18,000 square feet with 50 plus vendors it is the place to go for everything under the sun seven days a week. You can find high-end antiques, art pottery, advertising art, jewelry, tools and the toy you thought you would never see again.  Co-owner Jenks Youngblood, with John Bane, says “We are cheaper than Raleigh and cheaper than buying new. Part history, part store, all fun.”

The oldest, continuously operating antique store, The Old Hardware Store (485 Carthage St, Cameron) has outlived many in the fabled Cameron antique area since it opened in 1986 and is still one of the prized antiques venues in the area.  A walk through the themed rooms of mostly 19th century fine-country and formal furniture with grouped small decorative items is akin to a museum course in the best of Americana. Co-owner Jane Fairbanks says, “Some of my first customers still come by,” sometimes for the conversation but also for the generous refinishing advice she and Ken Fairbanks offer. A new generation of young customers in the store are discovering the quality they never saw growing up.

Sunshine Antique & Mercantile Company (115 N Sycamore St, Aberdeen) is another step back into quality 18th and 19th century primitive and country furniture. Evan and Marian Johnson established their store in 2015 after retirement from New York. Their store reflects a Northeast and New England taste and warmth which makes it popular among retirees and young career couples from that region. “I think young people are starting to understand this is good quality and is sturdy,” says Marion. Their daughter has a quality vintage clothing store which drapes itself around
the furniture.

Down Memory Lane Antiques (161 Dawkins St, Aberdeen) has long been a place for vintage Civil War, World War I and World War II military items, boasting also an impressive collection of toy lead soldiers.  Charles Ross is a pioneering African-American executive in the Sandhills, first with Proctor Silex, before he transitioned into antiques. Besides furniture, he specializes in jewelry, watches, silver and art glassware. A separate area is a popular upscale wedding and party room, which is also a venue for such dance groups as the Moore County Shag Association. Ross is proud that he can offer “a safe place for senior citizens” to enjoy themselves and dance to Big Band-type orchestras.

A Bit of Couture, a consignment shop, offers furniture, glassware and china from the finest homes in Pinehurst and the surrounding area. Diana Roberts, the owner, is proud that her merchandise appeals to formal and elegant tastes. “People want quality,” she says, and are rejecting the decline in sturdy furniture from the furniture showrooms.

Practical Posh (105 McReynolds St, Carthage), owned by Denise Bennett, appeals to the same formal taste for antique beds, cabinets, iron garden furniture and art ceramics.

Antiquely Chic (136 Lea Rd, West End) only opened in November but a steady stream of young people can be seen on each visit looking for home décor ideas as well as quality antiques. Gina and Keith Heinauer blend antique and quality vintage wood furniture with an assortment of decorative floral and domestic items. The Heinauers are a military family from Philadelphia. A handsome mahogany Empire low boy was once a badly damaged dresser that Keith completely took apart, stripped, and restored with a gleaming finish. Many pieces in the store were refinished by Keith and are now repurposed items. People want quality, she states, and not things that fall apart.

The Bee’s Knees (125A Lea Rd, West End) is another new addition to the area, replacing an earlier antiques and vintage store. Tiffany Evans, though young, has always appreciated the vintage and antique because she “is an old soul.” Her love has created a following among similar people who, as she says, “want something they remember from their grandmother” that disappeared.  She displays charming period ceramic figurines and vanity items. She also does a steady business in military items, such as World War II association and older knives.

The Rusty Pelican Junktique (400 W Pennsylvania Ave, Southern Pines) is a delightful new addition to the area after years in another location.  Paige Godin repurposes furniture and paints it in vibrant colors. “I make it look like shabby chic,” she says, and it appeals to young people in their first apartments who want their own identity and unique personality.  She has home décor decorative items which complement the furniture and casual clothing. The store has the feeling of being in California or at the beach.

The Vintage Barn (108 McReynolds St, Carthage), owned by Ann Turner, offers vintage Art Deco vanity items and vases, along with nostalgia music and movie memorabilia. It is designed like a boudoir from another era and is a fun place to browse. Numerous photos of Marilyn Monroe adorn the display areas, which is funny in itself because Ann herself is reminiscent of Marilyn. She has a following in vintage jeans and boots from the 1960s. “People want to be different. Young people want something unique, something their grandparents wore.”  

Harriet Dowd-Wicker owns three vintage stores: Medleyanna’s (5357 Hwy 211, West End), Sweet Eva Jane’s (8 Courthouse Square, Carthage) and The Warehouse (7297 Hwy 15-501 S, Carthage). She buys the contents of homes from families. The inventory in the stores is mostly vintage furniture and household items from the first half of the 20th century.  Customers can buy Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and paint sold dressers and chairs. She offers painted furniture classes and other craft classes at Sweet Eva Jane’s.

Everything old is new again, and shoppers feel young again too.