N. ABINGTON TWP. — Jennifer Michel has a passion for restoring items to their original glory.
That’s the reason she and her husband, Jim, moved back to the family homestead and reopened Silo Antiques at 226 Rowlands Road.
“We want to bring an appreciation for old things made new to the younger generations,” Jennifer said.
A grand reopening was held during Memorial Day weekend. The shop is open from noon to 4 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday, by appointment by calling Jennifer at 917-334-8374.
The shop specializes in furniture refinishing, antiques, upcycles, floral design by Forever Florals made by Peggy Sagan, jewelry by Lonakana, anti-aging and wellness products by Nerium International, and Mountain Home candles, among other items. The business also specializes in custom building and repairs.
A family of antiquers
Silo Antiques had been run by Jennifer’s parents, Shirley and Peter Sagan, for 32 years before it closed approximately six years ago when the couple retired. Shirley participated in antique shows for more than 40 years.
Shirley also had a business in Dalton for a brief time, but wanted to be home with her family.
Peter, who taught high school industrial arts classes for 39 years, used his expertise to build the business from the ground up with lumber from dismantled buildings.
“My dad built the shop onto the barn by himself, one nail at a time,” Michel said.
Michel believes customers always enjoyed the entire shopping experience when they visited Silo Antiques.
“Mom and Dad are so sweet and such good people,” she said. “Like anything, it’s about relationship building. People would come to see them as much as they would to shop.
“It’s like a little retreat for people when they come here.”
Shirley always treated potential customers more like friends than consumers.
“It’s a social event,” she said. “Everybody that comes through that door is a guest.”
Michel plans to carry on that tradition by hosting events at the shop each weekend, including mediation, jewelry making, floral arranging, and beer and wine tastings.
Information about upcoming events can be found on Facebook at SILO Antiques and Gifts, home of Artisans of PA Furniture Restoration.
Michel was introduced to the family business at a young age.
“Growing up, we didn’t get an allowance so to speak,” she said. “If you wanted money to go to the movies, you sanded a chair or put a coat of finish on a table.”
Those skills also served her well when she went off to college in Massachusetts and in the years that followed.
“I majored in dance at the Boston Conservatory and paid my share of college by refinishing furniture,” Michel said. “I went out into the professional world and performed as a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, I danced at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and traveled on European tours. All the while, when I wasn’t performing, I refinished furniture.”
After retiring from show business, Michel worked in furniture restoration and refinishing in the New York metropolitan area.
That’s where she met Jim, whom her parents had previously known through the antique business.
“A match made in heaven, right,?” Shirley Sagan said.
Michel is amazed by many of the pieces her husband can construct.
“He’s just a genius,” she said. “I call him Jimmy the Magician.”
The one that got away
Throughout four decades in the antique business, there was only item Shirley Sagan was sad to see leave the shop.
“It was an old, old, old, washing machine with the original mustard color paint,” she said. “That was truly old — it had to be from the late 1800s. I’ve never seen another one before or since.”
Michel agreed some pieces can be hard to let go, but she finds comfort when they end up in the right hands.
“When you take a piece that is falling apart or well past its prime and turn it into something that’s beautiful and ready for use, you get attached to it,” she said. “It’s like you’re nurturing these pieces.
“I say, ‘As long as you love it, I’ll be OK with it.’”