Glen Burnie has gained an antique row

January 25, 1995|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

You think Glen Burnie, you think car dealers, Motor Vehicle Administration headquarters, strip malls -- but not antique shops.

Yet the area around Crain Highway and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard is home to six antique and collectible shops, all within four blocks of each other. And most have opened in the past five years.

For years, Robert Shenton's B & A Antiques was alone in the 7400 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.

Then Rosie's Past & Present opened in the same block in 1988, followed quickly by the Neatest Little Shop, opened by Sherry Mercer a few doors away a year later.

Soon, other antique shops opened, drawn by those already there.

"People who shop for antiques like to be able to go to one spot, park their car and hit several shops," said Ms. Mercer, 44, who moved her shop from an alley at Fifth Street and Crain Highway to the Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard address.

Some shopkeepers say they wouldn't mind if downtown Glen Burnie came to resemble Ellicott City or North Howard Street in Baltimore, where clusters of antique shops line the streets.

Customers say the area is "going to become an antique row," said Rose Mulligan, a 64-year-old retired hospital laboratory technician who owns Rosie's.

Her shop is just north of Ms. Mercer's and Edie Welle's Remember This, which opened in April.

Cheryle Mynarski who opened Fourth Crane Antiques in the 300 block of SW Crain Highway in July, owns the only antique shop in the area that is not on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.

She is concerned that customers have to walk four blocks to get from the other shops to hers. But she said the location makes her store more visible to passers-by on the busy street.

In the shops are sofas, beds, desks, cabinets, jewelry, collectible glassware, dolls, spoons, even a Hopalong Cassidy ring with a picture of the movie and television cowboy.

For some, owning such items is "a nostalgia thing," said Carole DiLodovico, 52, who, with her brother, Ted Durity, 42, runs Curiosity Unlimited on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.

"The things that used to give a kind of comfort take us back to our childhood," she said.

The shop owners spend hours at auctions and estate sales and inspecting items that are brought in to find bits of the past to sell.

They depend on word of mouth and each other to survive, referring customers who can't find what they want to other shops.

"You thrive off of each other," said Ms. DiLodovico, a retired supervisor at the Federal Aviation Administration. "There is competition. But there is not competition on each item, because each of us has a specialty."

Some rent space in their shops to others who also sell antiques: school principals, housewives, construction workers, electricians, hairdressers, college teachers.

The shop owners are self-taught, relying on instinct and guidebooks. The business "is something you learn with feel and touch," Ms. Mercer said.

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