Before the Staunton Antiques Center opened for business Saturday morning, General Manager Bruce Joffe took a walk down Beverley Street.
"We noticed a number of store fronts that had signs that didn't say for sale or for lease, but coming soon," he said. "I think it's happening. I think there's a renaissance, that proverbial phoenix is rising."
Staunton Mayor Lacy King, who cut the ribbon to the center, says that his city had hit a rough patch, but he agrees with Joffe.
"We do have some businesses come and go, it's a very tough economic environment, and to see people investing and getting into the entrepreneurship, it's very important for us."
Entrepreneurship is the heart and soul of the antiquing world. Anybody of any age, with a little motivation, can make a fortune. The center's opening is a great thing for vendors.
"You don't have to have any type of special certification, education," said vendor Patricia R. Roberts. "It's a love for things old. Just a unique mix of people, kind of that patchwork quilt of personalities that have come together and make just one great, great quilt."
A special vendor's only opening ceremony Friday night was mobbed with people that couldn't wait to get in.
As proof of Staunton's economic shift, Joffe said the number one thing he noticed was how happy everyone was to spend their money.
"If people can walk through downtown Staunton, have smiles on their faces and don't mind, they did not mind spending their money. They enjoyed what they were buying. I think economically it's good."
The Staunton antiques center is so popular that there's already a waiting list for vendors who want to rake in some of that economic growth.
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