Fort Ann Antiques: The Whitehall Antique Mall is located on Route 4 as you head into Whitehall from Vermont. The 10,000-square-foot store of various treasures is brought to Stephanie Safka by 30 different vendors.
“This has always been an antique center; 1993 I think it was,” Safka said. “It had two owners prior to me, but since 1993 it’s been an antique center and it’s a great location for it because of all the traffic.”
Safka previously had a shop in Fort Ann and has been interested in antiques since she was 8 years old. She mentioned that she hosted her first garage sale at the age of 10.
“My mother and sister always collected and I always went with them. We did flea markets and antique stores. I had my first yard sale when I was 10,” she said. “It was back in ‘63, I opened up our family garage and just put a sign out that said ‘for sale.’”
The store attracts many from Vermont and New York. With the daily traffic being heavy on Route 4, there’s no way to miss the shop when approaching Whitehall.
Over the years, Safka has developed a method of organization for the shop.
“For me, I guess I’m color coordinated as much as possible. But with the glassware it’s color, the jewelry I have pins, necklaces, bracelets, earrings. And then I break that down into blue pins, red pins,” she explained.
The shop runs like most antique shops in the United States. Safka has specific vendors that take out booths for their antiques. This way the seller is able to make a profit, but also make sales while working during the day. As of right now, Safka has 30 vendors selling.
“We sell for them, they don’t have to be here,” she said. “It’s a concept that’s pretty popular in the country. But it works out well because if someone has a job but still wants to do this part-time, they can fill a booth and not have to be here. We take care of everything for them.”
“With 30 people here, you get a lot of different variety of stuff because everybody is attracted to something different,” she said.
An added attribute to the shop for Safka is her three dogs Lake, Bella, and Pearl.
“We have three dogs now and I always have my dogs with me,” she said. “Even to prior being in Fort Ann, I had the little shop across there up there and my two goldens came with me all the time.”
“I have a little kennel out there and they can come and go,” she said. “They get people petting them all day.”
Safka has loved antiques since she was young and is happy with where her shop is. Because of having a relationship with the last owner, she always knew she would be brought to the “antique place on Route 4 heading into Whitehall.”
“This was always some place I was going to be,” she said.