Many people who start collecting antiques begin doing so at an early age, usually learning about the hobby from a relative or friend who enjoys it. For Jackie Amato, her love of antiques came from her grandmother. But today, she has her own store to decorate, thanks to the love and generosity of her husband, Pat.
"My grandmother, Ann Weimar, had her own store for about 20 years in this same location. After she died, the store was closed and everything was gone, leaving this place empty. A few years ago, my husband, Pat, decided to buy it and now I get to help him here just like I used to help her," said Amato of her store Sayville Antique & Design Center Ltd.
She actually does a little more than help. It is her eye for style and design that gives the store its warm, inviting feel. She has captured the perfect balance of femininity and masculinity so either sex can comfortably shop for what they want without feeling overwhelmed by what they don't. And she did it all from scratch.
"We started with a clean slate, as the store was completely emptied after my grandmother died. So we did most of this ourselves," Amato said.
The store features enamelware, chandeliers, mirrors, decoys, tapestry ottomans, Victorian furniture, jewelry, children's chairs, lamps, ironstone, prints and many other items.
"I will also have vintage clothing by the fall," Amato said.
She keeps customers up to date with different sales and happenings at the store with mailings that announce upcoming events. "On Earth Day we gave out cloth tote bags that read 'Antiques Are Green' on them and we are planning to do other special things for future special shopping days," Amato said.
The fall will also mark three years since her husband opened the multi-dealer shop. Many of their customers were also Amato's grandmother's customers as well.
"We have a strong repeat customer base. It's great because I have been to their homes so I know their style and I know what they like. And I love to do it. I have a passion for this," she said.
She also has her own collections, but said there are too many to name.
"Let's put it this way, I collect everything," she said, with a conviction that would have made her Grandmother proud.
Sayville Antique and Design Center Ltd. is located at 76 Railroad Avenue, across the street from the movie theater. It is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week and is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information, please call 750-5208.