Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
Ultimately, P & J Antiques and Treasures is here today because of co-owner Pat Camp’s big sister, Dora Bell.
“When I was 17, she introduced me to antiques. She owned a store and I was her helper. She taught me different things about antiques,” Camp says.
Much has changed since then, including the passing of Dora Bell. However, Camp’s passion for antiques has only grown. “It’s always in my heart. It’s my passion,” she says.
Camp’s interest in antiques eventually became a side-job. She attended auctions, then sold her findings. Eventually, she was given the option of buying a vendor mall in Plymouth. Not only is it the perfect way for Camp to live out her enthusiasm for antiques, it’s also a way for her to remember her sister.
“I honor her everyday by doing it,” she says.
Although it’s important to love your job and be good at it, especially as a business owner, it is helpful to have a partner. When Camp purchased the vendor mall, she spoke to a good friend from the antique world, Julie Stamper, about joining her.
“She’s very good-hearted and business-minded,” Camp says. “I couldn’t have a better partner. We just click.”
Although they work together on every project, they have their areas of expertise. Camp keeps P & J’s Antiques and Treasures well-organized, a nearly full-time job in and of itself.
“She has such a flair for decoration,” Stamper says. “When you come in, that’s all her.”
Stamper inspires Camp with new ideas and keeps the books, often working after everyone else has gone home.
“I close the store at six and she’s in here doing paperwork,” Camp says. “I’m running the store, she’s backing me up with the advertising. It’s a lot. Calling people to get this done, boosting our posts, everything.”
They have nearly 40 vendors and more to come, all of whom sell quality items. “We like people to have antiques, collectibles, farmhouse-type stuff, refinished furniture that’s been repurposed,” Stamper adds.
The store holds an intriguing variety of merchandise, far beyond what is commonly considered “antiques.”
“We have a lady who sells essential oils and essential soaps,” Stamper says. “We have furniture and kitchenware.”
They also have a “mancave” to appeal to the men who come in, whether on their own or with their wives.
“When we first took over, this store was full of glassware. We called it foo-foo stuff. It was all lady stuff,” Stamper says with a chuckle. “We added a mancave and pulled stuff from the vendors’ booths that are more guy-stuff. The guys, when they come in, have a place to go.”
The inventory at P & J’s is constantly changing.
“You have to. You can’t be stagnant,” Camp says. “There’s a huge variety in here.”
Their customers love that aspect, since they will always find something new when they walk through the door.
The vendors appreciate it, too.
“When we let new vendors in, we try to make sure that they have something different than the other vendors. We don’t want to cut the vendors’ throats by letting them have the same exact thing,” Stamper says.
P & J’s hosts events periodically through the year.
“We want to keep different stuff going on, so you keep your customers coming back,” Stamper says.
One continual event is the bi-monthly flea markets in the summer and early fall.
“It’s out on the front lawn,” Stamper says. “Whatever you want to put out there. They take care of their own, bring their own set-up, display their own stuff. Even if it’s yard sale stuff, we’re fine with that.”
Another reason to visit P & J Antiques and Treasures is that they recently put in a smoothie bar.
“We don’t have that around here. We have the space back there, we have the bar, we have all the stuff right there,” Camp says. “We’re pretty excited about our smoothie bar.”
There are 10 smoothie flavors on the menu, and they are made from all-natural ingredients, some of which are dairy-free and sugar-free. Camp and Stamper included those specifically for diabetics and those on special diets.
P & J’s Antiques and Treasures is located at 900 W. Jefferson St. in Plymouth. Visit them Monday through Thursday 10-5, or Friday and Saturday 10-4. Potential vendors can call them at (574) 341-9660 or by emailing PJAntiques@yahoo.com. Follow them online to keep up with their events at facebook.com/pjantiques