When Tammie Finch began advertising for antique dealers to fill up her new business space in Camp Verde, she aimed far and wide.
She placed ads in newspapers in the Verde Valley, Prescott, Payson and Phoenix and on craigslist.com. And the response, as expected, came from far and wide.
But she learned something about antique dealers that she did not expect. They all seem to know each other, no matter how far flung.
So the opening of Sweet Pea Antiques became a gathering spot for dealers who had done business with one another for years. For the customer, that means a one-stop shop to see the offerings of more than 30 sellers.
A first-time shopkeeper, Finch taught for seven years at American Heritage Academy. With not enough to stay busy and with a consumer's knowledge of antiques, she was able to turn an idea into a working business.
Finch, with family and friends, turned the four-office building at 437 W. 260 into one showplace for local and statewide dealers. They painted walls and redid flooring and created unique spaces. They made room for a candy counter and even a playroom for children.
Starting with a first come-first serve policy, Finch leased blocks of space throughout the building. That filled up by the Nov. 9 opening, and there is a waiting list. The store also boasts a consignment room.
"I have excellent vendors," she said. "When anyone asks about a value or appraisals, I know who to call."
Sweet Pea Antiques has all styles of antiques, from memorabilia to dishes to art to furniture to vintage clothing. There are western-themed items, shabby, décor, books and jewelry. Even other antique stores in town have rented space.
Finch does not take Native American pieces because she said there are already businesses in the area doing an excellent job in that field.
The clientele, she has found, is often made up of Baby Boomers like herself who are seeking items to reconnect with their childhood - dad's typewriter or grandma's dishes. "Most of us have everything we need," she said. "Now we're looking for those things that remind us of our parents or grandparents."
Sweet Pea Antiques is on the four-lane bypass next to Anasazi Animal Clinic. It is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with later weekend hours through the holidays. For information, call (928) 567-6555.