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Distressed Wood and Chipped Corners

Distressed Wood and Chipped Corners
by Jennifer LB Leese

Hagerstown and its surrounding areas are not only known for their Civil War involvement, they are also known for their antique shops. Not one of the antique shops I've visited throughout the years is exactly the same. The owners of these establishments and the items they carefully choose for their customers have their own story to tell. "[Looking at an antique is] much like looking at ones face...as one ages the face tells a story. Antiques also tell that story," said Valerie Minteer, one of the four owners of Cloak & Cupboard in downtown Hagerstown.
When it comes to antiques, the owners of this beautiful antique shop know their stuff. For seventeen years, Steven and Mary Minteer owned and operated Decorating with Antiques. Now with their daughter Valerie and her fiance Chip Stewart, Decorating with Antiques became Cloak & Cupboard on November 5, 2004, opening its doors on July 1, 2005. "We're newer, bigger, and better," said Chip, who grew up in the Hagerstown area.
From the outside, the storefront windows and attractive design warmly invites you inside. Once inside, the tailored, romantic, and comfortable layout keeps you moving from piece to piece. It is obvious that much care goes into their selection of pieces. They've traveled the world searching for one-of-a-kind treasures. "We're very passionate about our pieces," said Mary.
"We have fun handpicking our pieces. We don't have pickers--we are the pickers," said Valerie.
Due to their extensive research on each item they purchase, some of the pieces have a framed article or written blurb about the history of the piece. "We try to retain as much information as possible about your antiques [so we may] pass it along to the buyer."
Cloak & Cupboard offers an opportunity for its visitors to not only hunt for the object that catches their eye and heart but to be able to experience an extravagant adventure of walking back in time--capturing all the senses.
This family-run operation offers a premium collection of investment-quality antiques along with an eclectic variety of elegant home furnishing accessories and decor items. Their primary focus is to "provide customers unparalleled personal service and incomparable product values."
"This is our baby," said Valerie.
Valerie Minteer has been antique shopping with her parents since she can remember. During our interview, she recalled a vacation where they drove around visiting antique shops saying, "If I had a store I'd..." or "That paint would look great for our store." I got the impression that for Valerie, Chip, Mary, and Steven, antique shopping is as fascinating and exciting as a child's first trip to the zoo.
When shopping for antiques, Valerie said, "[There's] a feeling that comes over you when you run your hands along the beveled edge of a table. I have a love for wood and fine furniture. [It's] a work of art with fine lines."
There's nothing like knowing your stuff and visiting yard sales, other antique shops, or flea markets and finding the piece of a lifetime. "Excitement and pride emanates from ones face when describing an antique or favorite piece of a collection. Even to describe the worth adds a sense of excitement to ones voice especially if the purchase price was a steal."
Those looking for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces will delight when they see the beautiful Victorian walnut secretary from the home of P.T. Barnum, or the gorgeous 19th century French cabinet that are decoratively placed amongst artwork, glassware, books, lamps, trinkets, China, and much more.
Mary Minteer told me that people love to discuss collections and antiques with them. "This is the kind of antique shop that we like to shop in and hope others feel the same way."
In today's world, everything that's old can be labeled as an antique. Generally speaking that's true, however, a product considered as an antique is over a hundred years old or is rare enough to have some value. In other words, these are old items that are limited in quantity. Antiques are collectible--very popular in many parts of the world. These pieces may be a table you'd like to have to enhance the look of a room, or a set of pottery to decorate a corner cupboard, an antique book for your library, or old photographs to embellish a room. Antiques can be any number of things--jewelry, money, cars, clocks, watches, cameras--anything rare and over 100!
Cloak & Cupboard is sure to have what you are searching for. On top of selling new reproductive items like pianos, tables, clocks, and desks, this antique shop also offers gift items such as handmade paper, notepads, handkerchiefs, jewelry, blankets, linens, and textiles.
Perhaps you've recently developed an interest in antiquing because you inherited an item, or maybe you've always been an antique-chaser...whatever the reason, visit Cloak & Cupboard--you won't regret it!
"Come in and have a cup of coffee with us let us know the kind of antiques you are looking for, your likes and dislikes about the individual pieces that we carry."
On Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16, Cloak & Cupboard will be having their grand opening featuring live entertainment, refreshments, a fundraiser for The Maryland Symphony Orchestra, a drawing, a raffle benefiting Habitat for Humanity, and a special grand opening sale inside the antique shop.
The owners are also the creators of Destination Hagerstown, a group dedicated to the enhancement of life, culture, and commerce in our community through communication, cooperation, and commitment. "We see Hagerstown's core as the region's destination for commerce and culture." If you're interested in learning more about or joining this group, contact Valerie Minteer at 240-329-4139.
This group of talented individuals will also be opening up an ice cream parlor for humans and their pets, caddy-corner from where the antique shop sits now, sometime soon. "We want our customers to stop by and get an ice cream for themselves and a Frosty paw for your dog," said Chip.
Cloak & Cupboard is located at 20 Public Square, Hagerstown, in the old Fleisher's Department Store building. If you're interested in placing one of your antique items on consignment, call or email the owners at 240-329-4139; info@cloakandcupboard.com, or visit them online at www.cloakandcupboard.com for more information and to browse their inventory.

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