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BALLSTON SPA: Out with the old

The antiques owners joined together to design and publish a walking map guiding shoppers from store to store, and getting word out through regional and statewide travel publications to bring shoppers to the village.

Brent Millington owns Ballston Spa Antiques, the longest tenured antiques shop in the village. Now in his 22nd year, he has also witnessed the slump in sales recently.

"The economy has caused sales to be down; gas is expensive and people are seeing foreclosures on their homes," said Millington. "I made a delivery up to Saratoga Springs, and a couple owned a house for three years and hadn't furnished it yet because they couldn't afford to."

Still, Millington believes that through cooperative marketing, all the stores can survive.

"The antiques brochure helped attract people, and the more places in business in the village, the better," said Millington. "You want people to come to the village and walk from place to place."

Fresh ideas for selling seasoned items

Other village-based store owners said they have seen a dip in the antiques industry, but others are prepared to ride it out and focus on ways to offer a greater variety of items to their customers.

Lesley Ann Lewis has two antiques shops in the village. Daisy Dry Goods at 28 Front St. is a small shop, while the Stone Soup Antiques Gallery at 19 Low St. is a cavernous site located in the former Tufflite factory. The factory has seen immense renovations over the last 10 years, and in December 2005, Stone Soup opened on the bottom floor with a new idea for maximizing sales on older items.

Lewis conceptualized the gallery as shared space, and it's now a cooperative venture between about 30 dealers who display their wares and help work the sales counter.

"You definitely need to look at demographics and how to market yourself," said Lewis. "You have to have a beautiful shop and give people a reason to recommend you to others."

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