Tucked away in a corner, in an otherwise small crevice of Red Cedar Antiques, a room labeled “comics” sits idly — scores of memories and nostalgia packing the cramped quarters.
In another corner, sports memorabilia flashes the legacies of legends from Michigan State to nearby Detroit.
Those particular items are owner Todd Goodrich’s brainchild, his fingerprints firmly planted on a number of goods within the store. Though it isn’t just him; he estimates he has around 26 dealers who stock his shelves with items from the past.
“I really like comics, I like sports memorabilia,” Goodrich said. “I like sports, anything to do with cars. That’s how I started and I haven’t really forgotten that.”
The owner first started in the business around two decades ago, when he was laid off from his job. He ended up at an auction where he bought some car parts, and from there, much like the various items within his store — history.
Red Cedar Antiques, located at 1435 E Grand River Ave., has stood strong at its current location for the past 11 years.
He rents out those rooms for a fee, and from there, the items stream in, packing the walls and rooms.
“It’s pretty much the optimum size,” Goodrich said of his store. “When you go into these super big malls, I think you kind of get overloaded. To me, it’s just about the perfect size to enjoy it. If you want to move on or whatever, but you don’t get overloaded.”
For a pair of dealers, Malcolm and Margaret Woods, antiques and everything about it have become a significant part of their lives.
Margaret Woods said she got into the business because of her interests — shopping, jewelry and talking — and some other aspects in between.
“It kind of fills all three,” Margaret Woods said of the antique business. “And I’m pretty good with bookwork. I thought for the last leg of my life, I’d like to really do something I really like.”
The Woods’ collect their items and inventory through savvy ways, whether it be garage sales, or even better, charity events. There’s an added bonus of giving back to the charity, too, Margaret Woods said.
“It’s fun,” Malcolm Woods said of being a dealer. “People get around. You get to see things you can follow and chase what you like and collect.”
While there are amusing parts of the job, though, at the end of the day it’s a business, one the Woods’ understand.
Margaret Woods said there’s a lot that goes into the decision-making process: Which store to rent from, the research, the cleaning, the expenses and taxes.
“If you want to do something like this, you need to go into it and it’s a business,” Woods said. “If you just want to buy some stuff and turn around and sell it, and not keep track of anything, you’re probably not going to make any money.”
However, she did have key advice for any newcomer into the industry — it’s in the buy.
Put simply, don’t purchase an item just because it’s “cute.”
“One thing I will say if you want to make money, the money is in the buy, not in the sell,” Woods said. “If you don’t buy right, you either can’t sell it because you have to charge too much or you can’t sell it because it’s not desirable.
Another dealer, Barbara DeGrand, got her start with some help from Margaret Woods. Though it wasn’t always like that; her start within the business originated from a $2 vase.
“Williamston used to be known for its antique shops,” DeGrand said. “It used to be lined with antique shops, back in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”
Now, she dabbles in the handkerchief market and has her own spot within Red Cedar Antiques.
“You can get some very nice quality needlework in handkerchiefs,” DeGrand said. “So I go and see and I can find a nice handkerchief for like a dollar or $2. I started kind of acquiring handkerchiefs.”
Though the inventory ranges through a number of themes and topics.
In a window seen from outside, an assortment of letters spell out “lovely junk,” a nod to the type of items the establishment displays. The window accompanies a room with the same lettering, as crates and shelves are full of that “junk.”
That nostalgia adds to the element of the antiques, Tom Heniser, a customer, said.
“I like the junk,” Heniser said with a laugh. “It relaxes me. So when I get stressed out, the chaos of the stores and everything just kind of relaxes me. So it’s my happy place.”
Though, there are other reasons to go to an antique store. For another customer, Diva Devereaux, she goes to Red Cedar Antiques looking for a specific item — and its authenticity.
But the nostalgia certainly doesn’t hurt.
“That’s why I love antique shopping,” Devereaux said. “It takes your mind off everything else. You can’t think of anything else when you’re looking at this stuff, especially if you have memories.”
Soon, Red Cedar Antiques will hold its Spring Fling, where all items will be 25 percent off from March 2-4. It’s one of three yearly sales, Goodrich said.
And after getting his start nearly two decades ago, Goodrich will continue in the antique business, dealers by his side.
“I look at it as you have to be imaginative, you have to think on your feet,” Goodrich said of the business. “You just enjoy a lot of the different people, and you gain knowledge.”