Local vendors offer historical and cultural treasures
The Barn Antiques & Unique poetically preserves the legacy of the building it’s housed in by filling its 6,000 square-foot interior with every imaginable artifact of the past. For the collector, the history-buff, or merely appreciators of American culture, “The Barn” is a treasure trove.
Its signature 1921 Model T, which greets entering visitors, starts the engines of imagination and nostalgia, paying tribute to the edifice’s role in the golden days of the first automobiles. From there, bits and pieces of Americana peer out from every nook and cranny. An old stoplight signals those interested in auto memorabilia to slow down, while others accelerate past it into an area devoted to ornate European furniture or to a section packed with antique and vintage kitchen items.
“You never know what you’re going to find, a little bit of everything,” says Barn Antiques & Unique Mall Owner Cathy Hendrix. She says many of her customers start out as window shoppers. “A lot of them are just reminiscing. They’ll spend hours in here. It’s like going in a museum maybe. So many of them say, ‘Oh, I remember my mom had that…’”
She also notes that the hobby of antiquing and collecting seems to be passed down from one generation to the next, just as the antique treasures themselves are. Hendrix sees a lot of mothers-and-daughters, or whole families, shopping together, and many older people tell her that they used to go with their own parents as children.
An ever-busy entrepreneur who has dabbled in numerous fields over the years from bail bonds to trucking, Hendrix says this is what she loves best about the antique business: the people.
“The people are always happy. It’s just a fun business,” she says, describing how she gets to witness again and again each day that moment when a shopper finds that magical item. “They’ll come in and they don’t know what they’re going to buy, so when they find their treasure they’re really happy. It’s exciting.”
The historical building, once home to The Santa Margarita Auction Barn, is now home to local antique and unique vendors.
“When we re-located our sister antique store, Central Coast Antique Marketplace, from Atascadero, most of the dealers joined our family at The Barn,” says Hendrix. “We now have over 60 unique dealers all under The Barn’s roof.”
As the town outside the barn develops once again into a booming tourist destination fixed on the future, Hendrix, a proud curator of cultural history, works tirelessly to ensure that The Barn Antiques & Unique Mall will always be a place where people can come together, pick up and turn memories over in their hands, and take home a bit of the past.
Find your treasure at The Barn Antiques & Unique Mall, located at 22390 El Camino Real in Santa Margarita; open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Call (805) 438-5329 or check out thebarn805.com.
— Jamie Relth
Come out to The Barn on Friday, Sept. 19 from 5-7 p.m. to meet the vendors, share in an ice cream social, and enjoy an antique car show. The Barn will offer extended nighttime hours for your shopping convenience during this special event.