Antiques on the avenue New store seeks to meet rising demand

William Urspruch and Bautista Castillo once found an 1840s French sofa in a garbage dumpster in Bergenfield. Then they got it appraised at $25,000.

This greatest discovery for these nascent antique dealers, this “trash find,” as Castillo puts it, is not a piece you’ll see at “Everything Old Is New Again,” a store Urspruch and Castillo opened last September at 510 Jersey Ave., Downtown. They decided to keep that one.

But most everything else, from Japanese tea sets and 1950s “lady head” vases to antique furnishings, is for sale. And on a snowy, cold day from their modest but inviting store, the two offered a visitor some hot chocolate and their views on the new business.

“We buy what we love,” said Castillo, “As if we’re buying for ourselves.”

Sometimes, though, it leads to heartbreak, like a coffee table that was sold without the two having a chance to say “goodbye” to it. (Someone else was minding the store at the time.)

As the conversation continues, a customer walks in.

“Do you have a coat rack?” she asks.

They don’t, they tell her.

“We’ve had three people come in and ask about that,” said Urspruch.

This new store joins Portfolio, an antique and interior decorating store just down the street at 498 Jersey Ave., along with a dog grooming place and a used CD store.

“There’s a new group coming in,” said Portfolio founder Renee Wilson, who started the business in 1994, “and there’s more people looking for antiques now than in the past.”

The owners at “Everything Old…” are trying to take advantage of that interest. Their excitement is easily palpable. Urspruch pulls out a 1930s Japanese porcelain tea set and angles a delicate hand-painted cup just slightly.

“You see?” he said. “In the bottom. Tilt it just right.”

Sure enough, at the bottom is the profile of a Geisha girl. It appears almost magically through a technique called “lithophane,” which uses thickness and shadows to create images.

Rise in interest

Urspruch and Castillo said they have noticed a rising interest in collectibles and antiques with the popularity of programs like “Antiques Roadshow.”

“We’ll have people pull stuff out of their basement and ask ‘how much is this?'” said Urspruch.

They usually tell them to go to professional appraisers.

Urspruch, 38, a Hoboken native who moved to Harsimus Cove five years ago, manages a commodities firm in Manhattan but has been a collector for years.

The store also offers refinishing and upholstery service. The owners don’t do the work themselves, though. Castillo, 37, is a carpenter by trade and has managed a wood shop.

“We can’t stress enough,” he said, “that we want to offer the best prices on quality items.”

They don’t use the antique appraisal books as the final word. To illustrate this point, Castillo talks hypothetically about a chair.

“Let’s say it’s worth $650,” he said. “If [I’d gotten] a deal on it, I’ll sell it for $350.”

The store offers homemade soaps, votive candles and French air fresheners in addition to the collectibles.

“Everything Old Is New Again,” located at 510 Jersey Ave. Open Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (201) 333-6716.


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