ALPHARETTA, Ga. – George W. Breckenridge Jr., who co-founded one of the country’s premier retail antiques establishments – the Atlanta Antique Gallery in suburban Chamblee, Ga. – died on Nov. 4, 2008 as a result of heart failure. He was 68 years old.
Born on Nov. 17, 1939 in Harrisburg, Pa., George William Breckenridge Jr. spent his childhood both in his hometown and in Pittsburgh. As a young adult, he moved with his family to the town of Maywood, in Bergen County, New Jersey. He subsequently attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J., earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business.
In the early part of his career, George worked as an electrical engineer for both Blaupunkt and Toko America, designing stereos for Ford and General Motors vehicles, as well as luxury cars including Bugattis, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces. A talented young designer, he eventually went on to set up his own independent car stereo business, continuing his association with Blaupunkt.
In 1965, while working a second job as a detective at Bamberger’s (now part of Macy’s), George met his future wife, Tricia Jennings, then a student working a summer job at the same department store. The couple married on Oct. 21, 1967 and would live and work in several cities before relocating from Chicago to Atlanta in 1996.
At the time of their move to Atlanta, both George and Tricia were executives working in business and corporate development for KMC Telecom. Together they facilitated fiber-optic network start-ups in 37 markets and 139 cities.
Always fond of antiques – particularly Art Deco designs of Bakelite and Catalin, and antique timepieces – George harbored a dream of owning a first-class antiques gallery. In 2002, he and Tricia, both retired from KMC Telecom, located a commercial building on Chamblee’s famed “Antiques Row” for just that purpose. Completely restructuring the interior, they transformed the 11,000-square-foot building into a luxurious multi-dealer showcase gallery that opened on March 1, 2003.
Having been an early proponent of Internet technology, George enthusiastically immersed himself in the technological side of the gallery’s business, designing his own photography studio and developing a retail Web site for his dealers that eventually would account for 45-50 percent of the company’s income.
During the five years in which George and Tricia owned and managed the Atlanta Antique Gallery, their business won numerous awards in reader polls conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Creative Loafing and My Fox Atlanta. The gallery won the title of Best Antique Shop in Atlanta seven times and Best Antique Jewelry Shop in Atlanta three times.
On Aug. 15, 2008, George and Tricia Breckenridge sold the Atlanta Antique Gallery, staying on briefly as consultants. They had recently enjoyed a 10-day road trip, relaxing and antique-hunting with their best friends. George was looking forward to doing more of the same for the rest of his life.
George Breckenridge is survived by his wife of 41 years, Tricia Breckenridge; and his brother and sister-in-law, Barry and Annette Breckenridge of Hawthorne, N.J. He was a member of the Chamblee Antique Dealers Association and previously belonged to ALTS and COMPTEL, organizations for professionals working for alternative long-distance carriers.
Condolences and tributes to George Breckenridge may be posted online at www.mem.com.
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