South Connellsville store stacked high with antiques from different periods
With the popularity of the antique shows currently on television, a South Connellsville business has opened that features thousands of collectibles, some that are hundreds of years old.
Visitors will find treasures stacked to the ceiling at “Antiques-Oldies But Goodies From A-Z.” Jimmy Groh recently opened the antique store in South Connellsville.
“I have everything from A-Z, which is why that phrase is part of the business name. I have glassware, pottery, clocks, toys, cutlery, swords, bayonets, knives, furniture and advertising specialties. I've got some of everything, probably 40,000 pieces,” said Groh.
The WCVI 1340 Radio clock that hung in the window there for many years is on display and still works and an RCA clock from 1940 is also among the treasures. There is an old McDonald's sign and light-up signs.
Many of the items were early advertising signs for products that may not exist anymore.
“Shoppers often say it's too much to see in one visit. It's too much to take in,” said Groh.
A 1948 Amoco Oil Company calendar is perfect and there are two more in their original wrappers.
Glassware is abundant. Some pieces are organized by color or style, such as green glass and jewel tea dishes. There are also pieces made by Hall, Hull, McCoy and others.
There are wind-up toys from the 1930s that still work, many in original boxes, and a unique Wizard of Oz characters piece.
“I tell customers I have from A-Z and it's no lie as you can see,” said Groh, as he laughs at the rhyme. He has learned a lot by reading about antiques.
It all started 30 years ago when he started collecting pocket knives. He now has hundreds.
”It took me years to learn this business, to buy top-notch things. It is my retirement hobby. I enjoy it. I love it and I can't wait to get here every morning,” said Groh.
There are ethnic memorabilia and walking canes from the 1800s, one of which holds a pool stick.
“Imagine the stories that cane could tell,” said Groh. There are railroad items such as a heavy bell from the 1800s that the engineer rang when he pulled into the station. There are model trains, including a 1941 American Flyer original, never out of the box, and Lionel. There are also many gasoline promotion signs.
There is a toy box from the 1940s or 1950s that will bring back memories for some folks. “I like the white buttons on top,” said Groh.
A 1932 Pabst Blue Ribbon clock has a bartender in a bar setting. It is very heavy, made of steel. Groh said it is rare because later versions were made of plastic. There are also collectibles from Stoney's and Rolling Rock.
Groh has purchased many items at auctions, and others from private owners. He's been buying and accumulating antiques for many years, knowing that someday he wanted to open an antique store.
A recent purchase Groh made was a 1910 gas heater, made by Norsta in Beaver Falls, with decorative cast iron feet. A nearby piece of furniture has claw feet and there are two spinning wheels. There is an art deco 1932 coffee grinder by Hobart and pop machines and promotional items for Orange Crush, 7-Up, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and a jukebox. Elaborate Valentine cards from the late 1800s are on display. There are Civil War pieces and cookie jars from the 1800s and a pantry box with a false bottom where women would hide their jewelry. An outstanding molded copper rooster weather vane from the 1800s has a prime display spot in the store. Many items are in mint condition.
A coffee and hot chocolate machine from 1952 still has cups and advertises a 10-cent coffee or hot chocolate. Vacuum cleaners from the early 1900s resemble today's models. Those looking for a mantle clock may find one here among the many Groh has in stock. Many old mirrors are on display as well as a Heinz Soup display.
Dozens of lamps from many eras, Chinese and Japanese porcelain and tins from 1790 to 1930, including Prince Albert and Granger, are available.
Groh has an extensive collection of old watches and high-end cutlery that he has collected for 30 years. He also has many brands of cigarette lighters.
Seth Thomas clocks are a collectible Groh likes. He has many styles and sizes. There is a wind-up book clock with a mother-of-pearl face in the original box.
There is another novelty clock with sound and a fireplace that lights up.
A longtime businessman, Groh has invested quite a lot to build the inventory. He is happy with this business venture and proud of the antiques he has accumulated. Many may be the only ones still in existence, he said. There is local memorabilia, including a 1915 calendar with the Soisson Theater on it.
A pristine poster of Janis Joplin hangs nearby and Man From U.N.C.L.E and original Ken dolls are in their boxes. The unique discoveries that shoppers at Antiques A-Z will find are endless.
“Take a walk back in time, enjoy the memories and maybe find something to buy that will remind you of days gone by,” said Groh.
He is entertained by the television shows dealing with antique pickers and says that the only one he believes as far as getting true pricing is Antiques Road Show.
The store is open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to noon Sundays and by appointment by calling 724-570-2498. The business is at First Street and Park.
”Drive out Pittsburgh Street into South Connellsville and make a right onto Park. It is 100 yards on the left hand side directly across from the old credit union,” said Groh.
Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.