American Antiquities has joined the commercial boom that is changing the face of downtown Fort Dodge. Early in May, co-owners Joe Gargano and Jim Polzin opened their new business at 1100 Central Ave.
The store features antiques, used furniture, collectibles, the buying and selling of gold and jewelry and help for people who wish to market items on eBay. The owners both said, however, their decision to launch this venture was precipitated principally by a growing demand in Fort Dodge and Webster County for high-quality used furniture.
Gargano said he expects job growth in Webster County as the North Central Ag Industrial Park west of Fort Dodge evolves. He said many of workers coming into the area to build the new or expanding businesses at the Ag Park will have a need for economical furniture. So too will some of the people recruited to work in these major new enterprises.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
American Antiquities co-owners Joe Gargano, left, and Jim Polzin look over the new sign that will go up on their storefront. The newly opened store, located at 1100 Central Ave., sells a variety of antiques and furniture.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Joe Gargano, left, and Jim Polzin make sure a display of collectible beer signs is on the wall just right.
American Antiquities is being positioned to address this present and potential demand.
"It just looked like there was a need for it in the community," Polzin said. "With all the young people, it's hard starting up nowadays. People just don't have the money to buy all new furniture when they are starting out. So, we thought we'd make the service available."
The furniture American Antiquities sells is a mix of items the owners have acquired at auctions or purchased directly from homeowners and others and consignments. Polzin said the store accepts consignments for 60 days. If the items sell, he said the owner receives 60 percent of the selling price and the store retains 40 percent.
Handling furniture being sold on consignment is not the main emphasis at American Antiquities.
"We're trying to sell our own merchandise," Polzin said. "Consignment is a small part of the business."
American Antiquities has two showrooms. One is 30-by-100 feet. The other is 30-by-50 feet. Polzin said customers can expect rapid turnover in the merchandise. The selection will change almost daily.
"If we're sitting on an inventory that isn't moving, we're going to go ahead and have auctions and then we'll rotate our stock," he said.
Consequently, the full array of furniture needed to outfit a home or apartment is likely to be on sale over time.
"We try to have a variety," Polzin said, noting that beds will soon be added to the already diverse inventory. "We've had good foot traffic through the store. ... If we keep our prices at a good lower rate, we will be able to continue to rotate our stock."
The goal at American Antiquities is to stock attractive items at affordable prices. Keeping prices modest is a key part of the marketing strategy for the store, Polzin said. That doesn't mean, however, that what is being offered is second-rate.
"It is very good quality," Polzin said. "No junk. This is not a flea market."
The decision to locate the store on Central Avenue reflects a belief shared by both Gargano and Polzin that downtown Fort Dodge is on the rebound. Gargano said he is pleased to help further the commercial renaissance in the heart of the city's historic business district.
American Antiquities is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. After-hours appointments are available.
"If somebody wants to come in after hours, all they have to do is call the store," Polzin said. "Our hours are as flexible as our prices."