Couple celebrates 15 years in Ligonier shop
To Richard McNatt, there's no better place than Ligonier.
“It's a diamond, not in the rough, but a real diamond,” he said.
McNatt, and his wife, Pandora, are celebrating 15 years at their Ligonier antique shop on West Church Street.
“It's just pleasant to live here, pleasant to have the shop here,” Pandora McNatt said. “It's just a nice place to be, and the people who come in are very interesting.”
“I like dealing with people,” Richard McNatt said. “I've never had a bad customer.”
The couple, married 31 years, are having a sale at their shop to mark the milestone. Additionally, they are celebrating their 20th year in the antique business. To commemorate the anniversaries, items in their shop will be discounted at the time of sale. Discounts will vary per item.
Pandora McNatt grew up with a yearning for “the chase for things” and “appreciation of older things,” as her mother was always interested in antiques.
The start of her own antique hobby came when she started going to auctions. After a while, she accumulated an impressive collection of kitchenalia. A wanted ad for dealers at a new antique mall in Indiana County became the turning point for McNatt, as it inspired her to set up a vender booth inside Denise's Log Cabin Antique Mall.
“We were one of the original dealers there,” she said.
“It was like an apprenticeship for us,” Richard McNatt said of their two-year stint at the mall.
The McNatts, who live next to their shop, later decided to give the antique business a whirl on their own, as they had owned and rented out the shop building previously to George Gilliland, who sold antiques. Gilliland later moved to a location on the Diamond.
“We thought, ‘Well, why don't we give it a swing,'” Pandora McNatt said.
Today the McNatts, members of the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce, offer a colorful array of treasures, like glassware, furniture, pottery and kitchen items. Richard McNatt mans the shop counter, while his wife serves as the eyes of the operation.
“She does all the buying and processing,” he said. “I have the easy job of selling it.”
There are no secrets to Pandora McNatt's method of antique hunting.
“You just go and look,” she said. “You just don't ever know what you're going to find. You just need to have the time and wherewithal to be able to buy something. A lot of the fun is just in the chase, looking and seeing things, enjoying them and talking to people.”
The shop's inventory has grown more diverse over the years, Richard McNatt said, adding that the clientele is changing.
“I think it's going from the people who like to collect to the newer generation that don't particularly like what their parents have,” he said. “They're looking for something that they can identify with, not so much antiques but things they can relate to.”
McNatt said it's hard to tell what people are looking for when they first come into the store. Recently, a young girl interested in sewing came in the shop asking for clothing patterns and left with a mannequin.
“It made me feel nice to see somebody enthusiastic about doing something, and I was able to help her,” he said.
“It's a good rapport, I think, being in the antique business,” he said. “People are very nice, and they're very knowledgeable. People that want to buy antiques know what they want and what the price should be.”
Fort Ligonier Days and the shop's close proximity to the municipal parking lot and the Ligonier Valley YMCA generate lots of traffic for the shop, he said.
“We get a lot of exposure,” he said.
The McNatts have grown very fond of Ligonier.
“It's been a real pleasure being here,” Richard McNatt said. “I know a lot of nice people in this town.”
Manfred Sander, former owner of the Ligonier Sweet Shop and Pathfinder Photo Shop, goes for coffee with Richard McNatt every day. Sander joked that they “solve the world's problems” during their morning joe.
The McNatts have “a very nice set of merchandise,” Sander said, attributing their success to diligence.
“They're very diligent, very honest and very friendly,” he said.
The people of Ligonier have become the McNatts' “second family,” Richard McNatt said.
“It's a really nice place, and people have been very generous to me, opening up their hearts,” he said. “It's a very unique, special place.”
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.