Hank and Peggy Tavener have taken a large leap into the antiques business with their purchase six months ago of the Virginia Street Antique Mall in Reno, Nev., a facility that’s been in existence for 15 years.
The Taveners, with Hank serving as the store manager and Peggy as the office manager, plan on upgrading and refurbishing the 18,000-square-foot antique mall on South Virginia Street, halfway betwAeen the famous Reno Arch and the Peppermill Casino.
Virginia Street Antique Mall currently has 90 dealers housed in the single-level building, on which the Taveners already have started to put their personal stamp.
“The back of the place had been loaded up with display cases,” said Hank Tavener, “which had a cluttered look. So we rearranged all the cases and limited that back room to ten cases along one wall. That opened up the floor area, which we recarpeted. We also used the ceiling area to display our selection of Victorian and early-1900s chandeliers.”
The resulting space in the back room, about 30 feet by 40 feet, has proved very successful for the mall. The room is used as a community sales area for the mall’s dealers where they can display furniture that doesn’t fit in their own space or because they want the added visibility of the back room. The mall doesn’t charge the dealers anything for using the space, except for the standard commission on any sales made.
“We also have antique seminars in that room,” Tavener said, “and have had an appraiser from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas give a presentation there.”
Tavener noted that he and his wife already have had the building repainted and intend to replace the exterior awning, reconstructing the entrance of the shop, and painting a mural on the end wall of the building’s exterior.
“We’ll also replace the rest of the carpeting in the mall to go with the housekeeping changes that we’ve made to the old walls and floors of the building,” he said.
Tavener got his start collecting antiques about 40 years ago and admits to collecting “just about everything,” although his favorite categories are US coins and military items.
“The military memorabilia I collect includes World War II weapons, bayonets, medallions and especially US Marine Corps items,” Tavener said, adding that he served as a Marine from 1955 to 1959.
Peggy Tavener said she “plays at collecting” and was a long-time accountant for a hospital before jumping into the antique trade.
Five years ago, Hank Tavener rented a case in the Virginia Street Antique Mall to dispose of some of his burgeoning collection. He sold out the display case quickly, restocked, and six months later had rented floor space in the mall. He kept on selling and began going to auctions to find merchandise to fill his booth. When the chance to buy the mall presented itself in early 2007, he and his wife jumped at the chance.
Today the Virginia Street Antique Mall offers customers a great variety of merchandise, from smalls to large furniture. Some of the specialty dealers in the mall handle high end glassware, Civil War and European militaria, Occupied Japan items, and Fenton glassware.
“People are very interested in glassware right now,” Tavener pointed out. “We sell a lot of it. People are also buying small tables and accent furniture, as well as lamps, chairs and other turn of the century pieces, most of it oak.”
Virginia Street Antique Mall
1251 Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89502
Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-5 p.m.