Many entrepreneurs attribute prosperity to a willingness to change. Yamaha, for example, started out as a piano maker before becoming a global producer of motorcycles. The world of small businesses, too, is full of similar success stories. And Eugenia’s Authentic Antique Hardware is one of them.
In its 30-plus years of trading, it’s gone from a mobile operation traveling to antique shows in the ‘70s, to an Atlanta Flea Market stall in the ‘80s, to permanent residence at its spacious Antiques Row location in historic Chamblee during the ‘90s.
The emphasis also changed over the years, from general antiques to antique hardware.
“Basically, we found that we were collecting a piece here and there, and that people were starting to restore homes in the Atlanta area [during the late ‘80s] and there was a demand for hardware,” said Lance Dobson, whose parents (former owners of the company) decided to switch direction.
Further working in the Dobsons’ favor was a growing acceptance that hardware items manufactured after 1950 were considered inferior quality to earlier production periods. “Things were a heavier density and made with better quality metals,” said Dobson. “In the 1940s, for example, thousands of furniture pieces were made that can still be used today.”
Eugenia’s has shelf after shelf of antique doorknobs, hooks, hinges and drawer pulls, from Victorian glass to 1940s Bakelite. At a time when home restoration has become a cultural phenomenon, authentic interior pieces are desirable. Often, replicating them is more expensive because of material scarcity.
“Nowadays we’re seeing pieces made that are nothing more than woodchips with veneer on it,” said Dobson, who has developed considerable knowledge about antique hardware through the years. He believes its demand will continue, particularly in the growing do-it-yourself market, and there are few serious local competitors.
Several publications have lauded Eugenia’s as the best of its kind in metro Atlanta, as seen from the framed articles dotted around its quaint interior, which at one time housed a drug store and employment agency.
Few signs of former tenants exist, though the current occupant has taken considerable care to maintain the character of the building’s origin, sometime during the ‘20s. Eugenia’s move to Chamblee came in 1996, when the Atlanta Flea Market on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard began to flounder. It proved to be another wise decision.
To find out more information about this business, visit www.eugeniaantiquehardware.com