130 NORTH FOURTH STREET
Aficionados of antiques and collectibles have been finding their way to Pickety Place for over thirty years, even though the white picket fence that inspired its name has been absent most of that time.
“When it opened in 1986, Pickety Place was in a little house with a yard, surrounded by that fence,” says Margaret Barnes, one of Pickety Place’s co-owners. “But the business outgrew the location, so they moved in 1988.”
It’s been in its current location at 130 North Fourth Street ever since. But even without the fence, it’s easy to spot. An ever-changing outfront display of vintage table and chair sets, along with fascinating bric-a-brac, draws the eyes of passersby. Colorful Fiestaware and mid-century pottery, tantalizingly positioned behind large front windows, regularly pull folks in for a “look-see.”
And there’s a lot to look-see in the store’s four rooms (plus a patio of garden-oriented items): furniture, paintings, Pyrex and glassware, ceramic figurines, knickknacks, costume jewelry, cameras and electronics, vintage clothing, and a section jam-packed with old tools, fishing equipment, and tool boxes. “We have it divided into sections; each co-owner has his or her own designated area,” says Margaret. “The products have to be vintage—antiques and collectibles.” She gives a general breakdown of the various chronological eras. “An actual antique is at least a hundred years old. Then you move into genres, like the Deco period of the 1920s, the mid-century movement from the Forties to Sixties, and the retro stuff that picks up from there and runs through the Seventies.”
The store often is filled with shoppers who know exactly what they’re looking for, but casual browsers frequently discover “shelf jumpers,” as Margaret calls them. “They’ll just be looking, and something will pop off the shelf at them! Well, if you see something like that, you’ve got to buy it now—because if you come back for it, it’ll be gone.”
Five partners currently share the business: Alice Gibson (whose mother-in-law was among the Pickety Place founders); Pat Montallano; Jim Freeman; Margaret; and couple Steve McGowan and Tanja Salma. “We like to have five co-owners,” explains Margaret, “because that’s an automatic tie-breaker when we vote on things, like how to change something in the store. It’s ruling by committee.”
Among the partners, Pat is the acknowledged “Fiesta Queen,” and Margaret admits to a weakness for handmade vintage quilts. While dedicated stamp expert Jim doesn’t always emphasize his philately in the shop, Steve and Tanja faithfully display Steve’s love for framed fine art. And Alice’s interest in western art and items is evident. “None of us would be in the business if we didn’t love collecting,” Margaret points out. “We’ve all personally been doing it forever.”