Paula Dusenberry and Eloda Watson know they’re addicted, but they’re not ready to stop — shopping, that is. “Everybody else takes drugs, we go buy something else,” says Watson with a chuckle. Owners of ComeOnIn Antiques, a shop that specializes in unique vintage finds, the mother-daughter duo uses their vice for the benefit of antique lovers worldwide. And thankfully for those shoppers, they’re having way too much fun to stop.
And there’s more: A glance reveals a stuffed duck, a basket of cannon balls, a plethora of rotary dial phones, a wooden wheelchair, a set of dental veneers, and the perfect gift for the person who has everything: a jumpsuit advertising something about “Paul for Poultry.”
Not surprisingly, it all began with a love of antiques. Watson began selling off the extras in her personal collection, which led to antique shows, a bunch of booths and a desire to do more. “We decided that we needed a store of our own,” says Dusenberry, who got involved in the business while in college. “I added up what we were paying in booth rent, and decided really quickly that we could definitely do that.”
And do that they have. The pair has now owned and operated the antique shop fronting U.S. 60 at Seymour for 15 years, which has given them ample opportunity to learn a thing or two about the industry. After all, dealing in antiques is more than just buying any and all old stuff out there.
“You have to keep up on the trends,” says Dusenberry, who says she often browses through magazines and Pinterest, an online inspiration tool, for ideas. “You have to see what the looks are that everybody is decorating with.” From her vantage point, Dusenberry predicts that industrial style is up next. “They’re already pretty prevalent on the East and West Coasts and a lot of things I’m seeing are metal and wood,” she says, listing lockers and stools as some of the hot new items to look for.
Take a tour of ComeOnIn Antiques
That’s different from when they first started, when high-end antiques, such as Depression glass, were all the rage. And it’s also different than now, when “the trend is ‘decorate your home the way you love’ so everything goes,” says Dusenberry, who notes that personalization is key. “Everybody is into crafts,” she says, “so they can come here and find everything they need to make their project their own.”
The store is indeed a one-stop shop for decor components not found at most traditional antique stores. There are racks of vintage doorknobs and hinges, a plethora of prisms, buckets of bottle caps, old roadmaps, components for lamps, a collection of cannon balls — and if you’re looking to restore a vintage victrola, there’s even a basket of spare parts for $5 a pop.
Those unusual novelty items are something thing ComeOnIn is known for. “This lady came in and said, ‘You’ve got a museum here,” says Gordon Watson, husband and father to the duo, who is often in the shop. “(She said) ‘I’ve never seen an antique shop like this…you ought to charge people to come in.’ And I said, ‘That’ll be $5, please.’”
Gordon Watson is quick to point out some of the shop’s unique items — such as a 1920s lawn mower — but some of their wares are more eccentric than simply out of the ordinary. You know, things like glass eyes, false teeth, coffins and morticians’ equipment. “I sell to a lot of doctors and funeral home directors and they have these odd collections,” says Dusenberry. “But that’s what we’re known for,” chimes in Eloda Watson. “The unusual. The unique items.”
Those items largely come to the shop by way of auctions, swap meets and shows. “It’s a big treasure hunt,” says Dusenberry. Her mother feels the same, noting that “you just never know where you’re going to find something.”
While the duo is regularly asked a variety of questions about their wares, one of the most common questions puzzles them. “We have people who come in and ask if we buy antiques,” says Dusenberry. “Which always cracks us up, because we’re like ‘Obviously.’” Eloda Watson agrees. “I always want to say, ‘No, we go out and steal them.’”
Want to shop?
ComeOnIn Antiques (241 Cobblestone Dr., Seymour) is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. To reach the store, call 417-935-9112, find them on Facebook or visit their website.