By Mikayla Kemp, OCT
Some of the best things in life happen by chance. At least, that’s how the owners of Lake Ontario Antiques and Creative Designs feel.
Lisa Shaw, Rosalie Frataccia and David Granoff say they came together by chance at a great time, allowing them to make their antique store vision become reality.
Shaw, owner of Oswego Tea Company and Golden Gate Bridal, was interviewing Frataccia for a part-time position at her restaurant when their ideas came together and their vision began.
Once seeing the location at 157 E. First St., Oswego, the two together along with Granoff knew it was the perfect location to start their journey.
Shaw had been a long-time antique collector with her husband as they purely enjoyed the hobby.
Frataccia, owner of Trash 2 Treasure in Fulton had relocated her belongings to this new store and Granoff had a hefty collection of antiques started in Pennsylvania.
Granoff, previously part of a family antique business in Pennsylvania, also had the operational background needed to contribute to their new model plan giving all three owners familiarity in running a business.
With more than 38,000 square feet in their building, three business experienced owners, and three separate collections ready to be displayed, the possibilities seemed endless for their new venture.
On December 1, 2014, the team opened its doors for business with the intent of offering a multitude of services within their many combined areas of expertise.
“A store of this type was needed in Oswego,” according to Granoff.
Lake Ontario Antiques is much more than just antiques however.
They offer a variety of merchandise included, but not limited to, antiques, repurposing, artwork, gifts and jewelry and historic artifacts.
“What makes us a cut above the rest is that we promote our dealers as small business owners,” said Frataccia.
Lake Ontario Antiques allows independent vendors to rent booths in the store.
Within their contract, vendors are able to display their collections or services for sale, including all three owners who rent booths and act as independent vendors just like the rest.
“We currently have 16 vendors and a host of consignees and growing strong,” said Shaw.
“This gives us a bigger variety. Each vendor has their own specialty,” said Granoff. “Diversity is what makes the business of antiques and repurposed treasures interesting and attractive.”
There is no shortage of supply in these varieties either.
“No two days will the store look the same. There is always new merchandise coming in,” Granoff added.
“And Rosalie is our store manager and specialty designer. She always decorates the store and displays the merchandise to make it look great,” Shaw said.
Aside from its multitude of services offered for sale in store, Lake Ontario Antiques and Creative Designs doubles as the visitor center for Oswego County.
Granoff, webmaster and coordinator for VisitOswegoNY.com, knew immediately that this location would be perfect for this purpose.
Available in the store is a sitting area equipped with a kiosk that connects to a big screen television for viewing, brochures, Oswego souvenirs and the owners available to visitors with any questions and provided hospitality.
The location boasts well for tourism purposes as it provides a great first impression of Oswego.
“We are close to the canal and harbor, providing a positive view of Oswego for visitors. We are also situated near many of the hotels and within a comfortable walking distance to all that downtown has to offer,” said Granoff.
The building also has history in the Oswego community.
“This is the original armory of Oswego from the 1860s,” said Granoff. “We still have the vault here that kept the weaponry during the Civil War times. We are next to where trestles carried trains across the Oswego River and is how the building got the nickname ‘North Gate Crossing.’”
History and views weren’t the only perks of their new business location.
With Shaw’s other two businesses, Oswego Tea Company and Golden Gate Bridal, along with a gym all located in the same building, “there’s a lot of stuff going on in this building, a lot of traffic flow,” said Frataccia.
“We wanted our store to provide a positive experience for everyone. In this building they can enjoy a great cup of tea or coffee over a nice meal and shop. We have a great restaurant, a bridal shop, gym and other businesses all in this building. When they visit us, we want people to say, ‘I enjoyed myself, that was like a mini adventure,’” said Granoff.
In its five months of business, Lake Ontario Antiques has grown and flourished.
“It’s difficult for any business to get a strong foothold, but we haven’t really faced the usual pitfalls,” said Granoff. “The city has been gracious to us and the community has been supportive. Our adjacent visitors’ center has also been well-received by tourism leaders. We are looking forward to a bright future.”
All three owners look to continue their growth with steady plans for the future.
Aside from their frequent sales and events, they plan to attend many local festivals to vend their merchandise and offer anyone looking to vend with them to contact them.
They also have plans to start a speaker’s bureau in their store.
With this they will provide speakers that are experts in the fields and subjects of interest to collectors.
“Our Facebook page at Lake Ontario Antiques is a great place to find updates about our shop, where we feature our vendors, provide pictures of sale items and new merchandise,” Shaw said. “It’s linked with our website www.LakeOntarioAntiques.com, which is the best place to find our hours and information.”
Their grand opening will take place on May 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The ribbon cutting will be at 2 p.m. while giveaways, 50/50 raffles, food and drinks, a $50 cash prize and experts and vendors will be available all day.
“We are just thrilled to offer this opportunity to residents and visitors near and far. We are grateful for the welcome and support we’ve been given” said Granoff.