When Andrea Wilbur was a single mother, she used to take her daughter antique shopping to pass the time. The hobby has now turned into a business, as she recently opened her own shop so a new generation can create those same memories.
Wilbur, a 10-year Marine veteran and an Inclusion teacher at Alvarado Junior High School, opened Wilbur's Antiques & More to expose Midlothian to the antique culture. Though the store has been open since May, the official ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce was held at noon Wednesday at the store located at 306 W Ave F.
Collecting items with her husband, Darin, for more than 10 years, Wilbur said they used to box up their collections and put them in storage. Now that they opened up their store, they share their findings with anyone that comes in.
“We decided to share our treasures and hope that somebody else could have good use with what we were boxing up,” Wilbur said.
Before opening their shop, Wilbur said her and her husband used to go from store to store searching for antiques. Now that they operate as a business, she’s moved most of her shopping to online and, instead of just shopping for herself, she buys for others as well.
“I like to buy the unique items that nobody else would have,” she said. “We’re trying to keep more vintage, antique vibe going instead of having the little boutique things that are popular. We have to kind of think from the mindset of ‘Well just because I enjoy it, doesn’t mean that other people will.’”
When they first decided to open the store, Wilbur said a slew of scheduling conflicts prevented the business’ growth. Their full-time jobs kept them from regular business hours, so they had to settle for keeping the store open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Nevertheless, Wilbur didn’t want to hesitate with opening the business.
“Midlothian is growing so fast, and this building happened to be open since we moved here,” she said. “We just decided let’s just do it and see what happens.’
Wilbur said she’s grateful that she and her husband have their "regular" jobs to help keep the small business open. But even with both of their incomes combined, Wilbur admits it can become a bit of a financial struggle.
“When we decided to do it, it wasn’t that we had savings set aside for it,” she said. “I got a very small loan. It wasn’t what we wanted. It wasn’t what we needed. But financially, that’s what we got, and we just chose what we could do with it.”
She said some renovations and remodeling had to be stalled due to their finances. But even with their limited resources, Wilbur said the business has been successful so far, and her husband also plans to build a fully operational train track around the store’s ceiling.
“At times, you stress about it,” she said. “But I have faith, and God knows where we’re struggling. Every now and then, we’ll get a little trickle, and that was exactly what we needed to pay that bill.”
Wilbur said if the shop does well, she wants to purchase a bigger warehouse that she and her husband are looking at for the business. She also wants to help others and contribute more to the community in the future.
But with a 20 percent discount for service members including military veterans, firefighters and police officers, she’s already doing that.
“I really enjoy seeing the generations come in and hearing the older generations say ‘I had this,’ or ‘My mom had this,’ and hearing the little kids saying ‘what is that?’” she said. “They’re fascinated with the old typewriter that we have over here. They understand it’s a typewriter, but how does that work?”
She said if she wants her customers to take away anything from the store, it’s the value of history’s treasures and how it brings generations together.
“I want to be able to have something for anybody that comes in, whether it’s a $5 piece or a $100 piece,” she said.
David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX