Aug 26, 2017
BETHANY – If the flags are waving outside the old East Bethany General Store, you know Terry Weber is open for business.
Not that Weber doesn’t have regular hours at her newly-opened antiques store and art gallery. She does. Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
The rest of the time it’s hit and miss. Just look for the flags, Weber says.
“I wanted this to be very low key,” Weber said. “I’m not doing this for the money. If I didn’t have this, I’d still be here and everything would be fine.”
Low-key and relaxing for Weber, who has long enjoyed hunting for antiques.
Weber opened Bethany Arts at the end of July in the former general store building, which dates back to 1835. She has owned the building since 1988.
“I walked through the front door and fell in love with the place,” she said.
She moved in upstairs and re-opened the general store.
She closed the business in 2005.
“It broke my heart to close,” she said. “So this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
Weber grew up in Batavia, attended college as an arts major at Leavenworth, Kansas, and taught school for a time in Denver. She returned to this area in 1982.
Weber is a well-known artist in the area and has long been a member of Batavia Society of Artists, where she has coordinated several shows.
Since 2005, Weber has used the downstairs as her own personal art gallery and studio.
“I didn’t have time to paint when I opened the store in 1988,” she said. “I started painting again when I closed and haven’t stopped.”
She had been contemplating doing something in the building when the idea came to her to sell antiques, along with a variety of her artwork.
“I kept buying stuff and finding a lot of good stuff,” she said. “I figured I should find a place to sell it on consignment somewhere but then I realized ‘Why not just open this up and sell it myself?’ ”
She already had enough merchandise to fill half the lower floor and has been seeking out more items constantly.
“I’ll get up in the morning and hit the garage sales and flea markets. Every Thursday through Sunday I try to get up and go hunting. Anything I see that appeals to me, I figure will appeal to someone else.”
When Weber says “anything” she means it.
Got Prince Albert in a can?
She does, along with a box of 78 records, glass bowls full of jewelry, bizarre lamps made in California in the 1950s, Life magazines, kitchenware, curio cabinets and shelves and small cribs holding a variety of dolls, big and small.
Thursday, she bought old wood boxes, crates that she said are popular, along with any type of old schoolhouse chairs.
Mixed in with the vintage items are paintings, multimedia tile art and felt art all created by Weber.
So how has business been?
“It’s been very good so far,” she said. “I’m not advertising and I think a lot of people driving by are curious so they stop. Yesterday, I had a couple from Maryland stop. They were just passing through.”
They left with several sheet-metal framed boxes, likely used to store nuts and bolts.
Weber also sells to a lot of dealers and will search for items customers request.
She expects the store to be open from May to December. She also is conducting art classes, teaching needle felting, multimedia tile art, watercolor and alcohol-ink painting.
Anyone interested in classes can contact Weber at (585) 993-0509.
In the meantime, Weber says she’s enjoying hunting for treasurers and meeting people interested in what she has to offer.
“Whatever happens, happens,” she said. “Like I said, I wanted this to be real laid back and on my own time.”