PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Some antique shops, including one in Olde Towne Portsmouth, are noticing a change in their customer base nationally.
Ken Woolard, the owner of Way Back Yonder Antiques, says he’s thrilled to see younger generations browsing and buying. He said it started about a year ago when they re-opened after being closed for a little more than two months because of COVID-19.
“Almost immediately [we] saw a younger clientele coming in. Our older people were a little more in a danger with COVID, and so they kind of disappeared,” explained Woolard. “Just over the last year, it’s just been more and more Gen Zs and millennials, and it’s really changing the mix of what we sell.”
Woolard said it’s a refreshing change.
“We’re delighted to see all these young folks because there’s been a great concern in the industry that there weren’t new collectors coming on the scene,” added Woolard. “Well, I’m here to report they are here, and they are buying.”
He believes it could be in part, because during the pandemic, everyone has been at home and looking around at what they can change.
“I think they’re looking at their home environment and they’re desiring to have things and make it better,” Woolard said.
One millennial couple, Corijona and Dan Forlines, said they like shopping for antiques for a few reasons, including supporting local shops and the uniqueness of the finds.
“It’s not cookie-cutter. You don’t see things like that at Target and Walmart and these big box stores. It’s something that was not only built to last but also has character,” commented Dan Forlines.
Some items Woolard said seem to be popular amongst younger shoppers are glassware, jewelry and vinyl records.
Way Back Yonder Antiques is located at 462 Washington Street in Portsmouth.