From a young age, much of Andy Meyer’s life has revolved around finding hidden treasures that others have overlooked or forgotten.
Now, he’s just got some more space to show it off in – and he doesn’t have to clean the family garage as often.
In July, Andy and his wife, Tara, opened Meyer Barn Found Treasures at 125 N. Main St. and have been enjoying growing business at the location, which they helped renovate during the spring. The “barn” is actually the second of two locations, with similar antique shop operating since last year at 102 Main St. in Brooklyn. There, he’s also run Meyer Masonry for around 20 years, dealing in brick, block and stone.
While his main business has been “going pretty good” recently, he’s found something to take up plenty of time during the masonry business’s winter “off-season,” something that gets him back to some old roots.
It all started for Meyer, a Brooklyn native, when his dad, Tom, would bring him along on trips to area car dealerships. Tom Meyer owned a car parts business, specializing in 1932-48 Fords, and when the dealerships shut down, he would take in the parts.
“He started small, selling parts here and there, and it turned into a pretty big thing, and he slowly got into everything a little bit, and it got me into it,” Andy Meyer said. “My dad, he was the original picker – I cleaned out the garage about 70 times when I was a kid.”
Tara manages the jewelry in the store, as well as the eBay and Etsy stores, while Andy’s friend, shop manager Ari Bloom, is the “computer guy” with technical skills as well as a great knack for knowing values for a variety of items.
“It’s a learning curve every day, and Ari’s very good at that,” Meyer said. “We wouldn’t be this far along if not for Ari; it wouldn’t have taken off the way it did.
“I can look at some stuff and know what it’s worth, but some stuff I look at and I don’t think it’s that special and come to find out it’s pretty special.”
Bloom said the store gets a fair amount of business online and gets a wide range of requests. Chances are if they don’t have an item, you might not have to wait long, whether you’re calling from Netherwood Avenue or Norway.
“We keep a list if we don’t have something, and then we can contact them,” he said. “If it comes in, we give ’em a call.”
Back to the ‘barn’
The name of the store comes from the days when Meyer owned an old barn he converted into a dance hall, as well as a storage facility for his ever-growing collection of antiques “I’ve collected for a long time, and then I just had so much stuff,” he said.
The Brooklyn store opened last year, and with the new location, he finally has some room to display many more items. For years, he said, people who knew his hobby would call to ask him to help clean out items from a barn, basement or attic.
Eventually, he got in the habit of asking people about old items at masonry jobs.
“A lot of times it’s up in an attic or basement or an old barn, so, ‘Hey, if you’re interested in getting rid of this,’” Meyer said. “A lot of people say, ‘Yeah, that would be great.’”
Now, with the businesses, more people come to him with items, though he still enjoys going out on a good “pick” in an old barn or garage somewhere.
“Once the cold weather hits, I’ll step away from the masonry a little bit and I’ll do some more picking,” he said.
In the meantime, business is going well at the downtown location, which he said is about four times the size of the Brooklyn location. His business helped with extensive remodeling of the building, the former location of the Oregon Observer.
“It’s constant, people coming in; a nice location, a nice building,” he said. “It’s an eye-catcher for Oregon when people come downtown.”
The store is open Wednesdays through Sundays, though Meyer said most people stop by on Fridays or the weekend. There. you can see antiques into every corner of the space, as well as original “found item” artwork.
While there is a great variety, there are certain specialties, though.
“I’m real interested in any old car parts, photo albums, anything gas or petroleum related, anything antique toys, rustic farm and barn items, signs, beer signs, any old signs, milk bottles, wooden crates,” Meyer said.
“A little bit of everything.”