Hancock Antique Mall opens today

September 01, 1998

Antique MallBy MATTHEW BIENIEK / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer [enlarge]

HANCOCK - Reviving part of Hancock's past may be part of the key to the town's future, said Robin Caton, a manager at the Hancock Antique Mall, which opens today.

The mall is in the former London Fog factory at 266 N. Pennsylvania Ave. The factory closed in 1994, laying off about 300 workers.

The past is the featured attraction in the reopening of a building that had housed a major employer.

At some of the booths the practical items of yesterday become the unique and treasured exotica of today.

For $8 you can learn how to repair a steam locomotive's brakes or boiler with pamphlets published in the 1920s by The Locomotive Superheater Co.


Or you can get an empty Old Export beer bottle. The beer was brewed by the Cumberland Brewing Co. in Cumberland, Md.

Seventy-one vendors had signed up by Monday afternoon to sell their wares from the 48,000 square-foot-mall. Among them are three sports card dealers, said Caton.

Space is available for 275 vendors, she said.

"This business is kind of like Baskin-Robbins - 31 flavors, there is a flavor or antique for everyone," she said.

Among the vendors are Donna and Ellee Neilands of Gapland, Md., who specialize in antique glassware and china. They also carry kitchen appliances, like a vintage Sunbeam 1951 automatic toaster.

Put the bread in and it is lowered, toasts, and then pops up.

Other remnants of the past greet a customer walking through the hallways leading from the antiques section to the flea market section.

Mall owner Forrest Mellott hand picked the farm and home implements at flea markets and yard sales. The items are suspended from metal rafters and almost seem to be floating in space.

There's a bit of everything, including wooden crates that once carried such products as Dr. Hess Fly Chaser, manufactured by Dr. Hess and Clark Inc. of Ashland, Ohio. The box offers no other clues about the product.

Also suspended to set the nostalgic mood are old-fashioned schools desks, lanterns and a wooden wheelbarrow with a wheel of wood.

"We sell nostalgia," Caton said.

Plans are for a staff of 12, including some part-time workers, when the mall is at full capacity.

Rent is $1.35 per square foot, small jewelry showcases rent for $35 a month and 4-foot by 10-foot booths, the smallest available, rent for $54, Caton said.

The mall plans to use the World Wide Web, with an Internet site being developed, she said.

There is the possibility of a restaurant opening so patrons can have a full meal to build up energy before another round of shopping.

A grand opening ceremony is planned for October, Caton said.

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