The volume of treasures inside Petersons Antiques in downtown Overland Park may surprise you. Wilma and Lloyd Peterson have filled every nook and cranny of the 7,600-square feet of space with furnishings, trinkets and other antique riches.
At its current location on Marty Street, Petersons Antiques has called downtown Overland Park home since opening in 1972. It’s been at the Marty location for four years, with the main floor and basement filled to the brim with antique items.
“A true antique is 100 years old according to government standards,” Wilma Peterson said. “We do have some things that are less than that.”
Q: How would you describe your business?
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Petersons Antiques carries a little bit of everything, but the shop has a large collection of American furniture and clocks.
“We try to specialize in rare and investment quality furniture, because that’s what people come in looking for,” Wilma Peterson said.
There are many unique items in the retail shop.
“We have a one-of- a-kind French walnut armoire and bed that is carved from one piece of wood. … It probably took a man 12 to 15 years to carve it,” she said.
In addition, there is a walnut cradle with a canopy, carved oak tables, sideboards and china cabinets, a walnut hooded lock side chest and walnut and oak desks. Other items include art glass, silver, china, toys and oil paintings.
“There is usually something for everyone in here,” she said.
There is one thing that Petersons Antiques is not.
“We are not a mall,” Wilma Peterson said. “An antique mall is owned by many owners and we own our own business, inventory and our building.”
Petersons’ also offers furniture repair and refinishing services. “Any customer can bring an item in for a free estimate,” she said.
Q: How and why did you decide to go into the antique business?
Lloyd Peterson had been working in the corporate industry world while Wilma stayed home and with the couple’s two children. The couple has had a life-long interest in antiques; the pair has collected clocks for years.
“When Lloyd decided he wanted to leave his corporate job we thought going into antiques was a way we could help other people and give them jobs,” she said.
With little background in retail, the Petersons looked for a space landing in downtown Overland Park.
“We started buying and selling,” Wilma Peterson said. “We had great faith in God that he would help us and we knew it would work.… Within the first eight years we were the largest and most popular antique place in the area.”
The first two years in business, the couple, now married for 54 years, worked the store. Then the Petersons began hiring employees to help.
“We have always had a passion for young people so over the years we have helped 25 to 30 people with jobs and financial help to go to college and seminary.”
Today, the Petersons continue to work at the store, along with their 25-year-old grandson Connor and three other employees.
Q: How do you find items?
“I get many calls every day from people wanting to sell things,” Wilma Peterson said. “We buy out from estate sales, from individuals. … Lloyd and I and Connor go out looking every week.”
Q: What do they look for?
“We are looking for things to replace items we have sold, good pieces — clocks, oil paintings, quality antique furniture,” Lloyd Peterson said.
The entire inventory the Petersons have is out on display for customers to peruse. Those interested can also go to Google maps and take a virtual tour of the store.
Q: How do you price things?
The Petersons do research on pieces before pricing them.
“You have to go with what the market will bear. You cannot over price yourself,” Wilma Peterson said. “Now we know from business experience, too.”
The store carries things from as little as $10 to an item listed for $250,000.
“We have seen things go up and down over the years,” she said. “Collector plates and Hummels used to be really be hot and now they are not.”
Lloyd Peterson said the economy has affected the business.
“We do not have a middle class to buy those kind of things,” he said.
Over the past few years, the Petersons have used the Internet to sell items; they have sold more than 800 items on various sites including eBay, Ruby Lane and Goantiques.com.
At ages 75 and 76 respectively, Wilma and Lloyd Peterson don’t see retirement in the near future, but they have planned ahead.
“We want to train our grandson Connor to succeed us,” Wilma Peterson said.
“He really likes antiques. … There is nothing formal in place but, it’s the game plan.”
In a nutshell
COMPANY: Petersons Antiques
ADDRESS: 7829 Marty, Overland Park
WEB SITE: www.petersonsantiques.com