MODESTO – Marcia Tobin loves to recycle.
For more than a decade the Modesto antiques dealer has prided herself in her ability to take objects that would otherwise go unnoticed, clean them up or add something to them, and transform them into the centerpiece of somebody’s living room or a conversation starter inside of the den.
In the window of Modesto’s Antique Emporium on J Street sits one of Tobin’s more unique retrofits – an antique mannequin that she spruced up by pasting basic sheet music over the majority of the body.
And as one of dozens of antiques dealers that operates out of the unique store – which boasts two-levels and operates much like an indoor mall – Tobin feels a sense of pride when a customer takes a shine to one of her unique creations.
“I really like to refurbish work out objects and use them in ways other than in which were intended,” she said. “For some people antiquing starts out as a hobby, but I fell into it right away. I enjoy getting to share the unique things that I love with other people.”
Unique is exactly what owner Carol Rutter was shooting for when she opened the doors to the business 16 years ago.
A designer by trade, Rutter began her fascination with antiques when she started to realize that the furniture that was built in previous decades was done so with a sense of craftsmanship that she felt was lacking from modern day equivalents.
Rather than take the traditional route by stocking the store with items that she would pick-up from estate sales and other avenues, Rutter began contracting with individual dealers that travel the country on their own looking for that perfect piece.
“Back then things were built with perfection in mind and they were also hand-crafted,” she said. “And what I love about doing this is that the things that we have are unique. You aren’t going to walk into somebody else’s house and see the exact same piece of furniture or decorative item.”
The store itself is a testament to the wide variety of offerings that can be found inside of an antiques store.
Large, solid wood hutches with carved mirrors dominate one display for those who appreciate the handmade furniture while small collectables fill curio cabinets and grace the shelves of other displays throughout the floor.
Looking for an antique record player? They’ve got that. How about antique china? You’ll find that too.
By utilizing the keen eye of so many professional antique dealers, Rutter has never had a problem with having something in the inventory that would suit the fancy of just about any buyer or collector.
“We’ve really carved our own path by having all of these different dealers under the same roof,” she said. “But it adds a lot of variety and really puts a lot of things out there. We’ll have some modern stuff and other stuff from the 50s and 60s to go with other stuff from the French and Victorian Eras.
“We try to provide the best item for the best value and give the oldest product possible.”
Antique Emporium is located at 1511 J Street in Downtown Modesto. To get there take Highway 99 and get off at the Central Modesto exit. Proceed up to the next light and turn left (I Street) and go straight until you reach 16th Street. Turn left, and then left again on J Street and the business will be on your left.
For additional information call (209) 579-9730.
— JASON CAMPBELL