The Butler Peddler closing after 17 years of antiques sales Buildings, property in county for sale

March 18, 1997|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF

The Butler Peddler, for 17 years a northern Baltimore County magnet for antiques collectors, is closing, with a going-out-of-business sale until April 14.

Sharon Harrison, 44, who founded the business in 1980 with her late husband, Tom Harrison, said she also is selling their buildings and property at Falls and Butler roads, which include the general store and liquor store, a tearoom and a house.

Harrison said the business has become too much since her husband's death in 1995 left her to care for their three children and prevented her from the extensive travel needed to maintain top-quality stock for the business.

She received her last shipment of antiques in December and in January started thinking about leaving the business.

Some of the buildings date to the early 19th century, and the business no longer supports the cost of maintaining the buildings, she said.

"I would like to see it reopen as something complementary to Butler," Harrison said.

Harrison said she decided on the monthlong sale to repay her customers' loyalty by giving them first crack at the antiques, instead of simply selling everything to dealers.

Two dealers have offered to buy whatever is left when the sale ends, she said.

Ann Parks, who operates the busy Butler general store, the center of this rural community since 1905, said, "I hate to see any business close, but this won't have any impact on me."

At Maryland Saddlery, another of the few businesses in the tiny community, Cindy Moose of Boring said, "It's sad but it won't affect us. I would like to see a business of the same kind come in, though."

Tom Harrison, a Towson lawyer and lifelong lover of antiques, bought the land and buildings on both sides of Falls Road at Butler Road to set up a pet project, an antiques center in the north county's horse country.

Sharon Harrison quit her job as a teacher at Stoneleigh Elementary School to help. She stayed active in the business as they raised their family.

The main antiques shop and another building that houses reproductions are on a 1-acre site on the southwestern corner of Falls and Butler roads.

The new owner won't pay extra for the resident ghost, who is said to be one Cynthia Poteet, who had a sad life and died long ago, when what is now the main antiques shop was a house.

On a recent day, as workers were checking price tags, a loud "crrrack!" resounded through the shop. Sharon Harrison rushed in, asking, "What was that?"

"Probably just the ghost," replied Norty Stenersen, 74, a family friend who has worked part time in the shop from the beginning.

Pub Date: 3/18/97

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