Trader-who’s? New stores offer alternatives

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Antiques, second-hand shopping alive and well

By Wesley Robinson
News Intern, The Oldham Era


When TraderBakers closed its doors earlier this year, it left a large void in the retail community. But since then, four other businesses got creative, stepping in to give local residents what they hope is an even better shopping experience.

Bargain Rack, The Copper Awning, Clover Cottage and Sugar Babe Antiques recently opened smaller vendor malls with a variety of antiques, collectibles, furniture and other deals Oldham County residents had come to expect at TraderBakers.

“There was a lot of need for TraderBakers, and then it was gone,” said Steve Helfrich, one of the owners at Bargain Rack at 300 N. First St. “We sell things without four to five times profit margin. We want to provide a good service to the community.”

Helfrich said Bargain Rack offers “a little bit of everything,” from consignment clothing, furniture, antiques and home décor items to discounted food and homehold items. The store also sells specialty wares from local vendors.

“The way the economy is, people want to stretch their dollar — we’re trying to provide that niche,” Helfrich said. “I’m trying to provide what people need. … If I can get that to them at a nice price, I’m happy.”

While the Clover Cottage has been open for nearly two years, Lisa Wirth said she has expanded operations at a new location – 7614 W. Hwy. 146 in Pewee Valley – two months ago, when she heard TraderBakers was closing.

“People were upset when TraderBakers closed,” Wirth said. “They don’t know what to expect, but they can find lots of treasures here at our stores.”

She said she and her husband, Kevin, saw an opportunity to expand on their antique furnishings business to take in displaced vendors. While many of the items at Clover Cottage are used, none of it is “junk,” she said. Her inventory is comparable to products people buy at department stores, such as Macy’s, but at reduced prices.

“Here they can buy something nice and it’s within their budget,” she said. “You can get better things at better prices.”

Tony Nieckula of Sugar Babe Antiques, 7511 Hwy. 329, Brownsboro, said the store is out to embrace the community through selling antiques, collectibles, furniture and other memorabilia as well as providing great customer service. The store has 35 vendors, about twice as many as the other stores, but promotes a family atmosphere within its walls.

“We’re a family,” Nieckula said. “It takes all of use to make this place go round.”

Beyond the signature life-sized Santa Claus that greets customers near the entrance, the store carries antiques ranging from $1 up into the thousands for premium antiques such as English grandfather clocks and oak furniture.

Margie Zaring, who also works at Sugar Babe, said the store formerly was the Charlie McCombs General Store, and they are building on that legacy as a community store. She described a middle-aged man coming to the store to buy a collectible truck. She said many people buy their  collectibles for nostalgia.

“I think we all go back to our memories [from childhood] and try to promote items in our homes that bring back those memories,” Zaring said.

Sheila Reid of The Copper Awning, 204 S. First St., said she’s enjoyed the generosity of people coming out and helping her new business venture.

“I’ve met more [people] out of this in the past two weeks than I did in 13 years I’ve been in Oldham County,” or in the six years she sold out at TraderBakers, Reid said.

She said she is happy to run a store that can give more individual attention to customers and vendors.

“I want it to be fun — I want this to be a happy place for me, my business partner, vendors and customers.”

She and the other new entrepreneurs at the four stores are happy to refer customers within the upstart network.

“Everyone who has opened from TraderBakers’ closing ordeal has been supportive of each other,” Reid said. “It’s nice to be able to tell somebody there’s a store down the road.”

Bargain Rack
300 N. 1st Ave, Suite 3
La Grange
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Copper Awning
204 S. First St.
La Grange
Monday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Clover Cottage
7614 W. Hwy. 146
Pewee Valley
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Sugar Babe Antiques
7511 Hwy. 329
Monday through Saturday 10-7
Sunday 12-5