How many antique stores are started by teenagers? Probably not many, but one in particular—Past to Present in downtown Niantic—has that distinction. Josh Haderski opened his shop six years ago at the age of 18, but even then, he was no newcomer to the world of collectibles.
“I was always a collector of just about everything,” says Haderski, “so it came naturally. And I was always interested in history.”
Haderski started collecting and selling baseball cards when he was nine years old. “That’s what got me into this,” he says. “I started buying and selling the cards in this store when it was my grandmother’s gift shop.”
Though Haderski does not own the property, the store space has been in his family for 25 years. “I grew up in Niantic,” he says, then laughs. “Practically right here in the shop. I enjoy Niantic, Main Street, and this space.”
At about age 14, Haderski began going to flea markets with his dad, and caught the collecting bug. “I enjoy the history of it,” he says. “You learn something new every day. When I find something neat, I learn all about it.”
Antique stores have their own particular charm, depending on what you like, but more importantly, what the owner likes. Haderski acknowledges that a store reflects the owner’s eye and taste, so the items in a store are often unique to that owner.
Haderski likes mid-century furniture and design, nautical pieces, and local history items. Partial to sports cards, he also carries collections he finds, primarily vintage 1960s and earlier. Haderski and his staff re-stage the layout every Thursday. “We move a lot of stuff around,” he says.
The space is filled with interesting and unusual items, ordinary and old-fashioned things, and lots of nostalgia. Past to Present is clean and dust free, nicely arranged, and an experience to walk through. Asked what makes his store different from others, Haderski laughs. “Well, bringing in two truckloads of stuff every week is an event in itself. And restaging the store each week.”
To keep his shop well-stocked with new finds, Haderski goes to auctions, buys through estates and also manages estate sales. In addition, he purchases individual items and acquires collections. This keeps him busy, but he still finds time to attend a few antiques shows a year, especially the Brimfield Antique Show and Flea Market in Massachusetts.
“The show is not so traditional anymore,” says Haderski, “but it’s the Mecca of antique shows. People travel from all over the world to shop there.”
In addition to the three Brimfield shows, Haderski does a smaller show at the Lebanon Green, and the Glastonbury New Year’s Day show, plus he participates in the sidewalk sales and local events in downtown Niantic.
As if maintaining a fully-loaded store isn’t enough, Haderski and his staff also conduct estate sales where they appraise the contents of the house, then price, and stage the home for the sale. Once the sale is finished, they do a full cleanout. Online, the store has well-designed and up-to-date pages on eBay, etsy, and Facebook.
Whether you’re looking for a cast-iron skillet, an antique armoire, or a 1963 Hank Aaron baseball card, Past to Present might just be the place to find it.
Past to Present is located at 260 Main Street, Niantic, CT 06357. For more information call 860-449-3312; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit pasttopresentct.com.