Two well known and established Milton antique shops will be soon closing their doors.
Antiques in Milton on Union Street and Jailhouse Antiques on Federal Street have each been notified by their landlords that they must move out. For Antiques in Milton owners Kathryn and son Matt Greig, the news came as a surprise.
“The first three weeks [after notice] we were in shock because it just came out of the blue; no indication that it was going to happen,” Kathryn said.
Antiques in Milton has been located across from the Milton Theatre for the last 11 years; Matt took over ownership in October 2005. New Milton Theatre owner Glenn Howard is the Greigs' landlord.
“He told me he was renovating it and dividing it into three units, and he could possibly rent one to us,” Matt said.
Antiques in Milton has until the end of December to vacate the space. That might be easier said than done, Kathryn said, as Antiques in Milton is home to 35 different antique sellers. The business serves as a broker; antique sellers can rent space in the Antiques in Milton storefront for their items to be sold.
“I think it's really unfortunate for [antique sellers] and for buying antiques in southern Delaware because their stuff isn't going to end up anywhere else, it's just going to be gone,” Matt said. “One said he's giving up on Milton completely and never putting stuff in Milton again because he liked being here.”
Matt and Kathryn said they have no plans to reopen in a new space. Like some of their sellers, they plan to store as much as possible and sell at shows.
As for what's planned for the building, the Greigs only know the little Howard told them.
“We've heard all kinds of rumors about it,” Kathryn said. “He's very tight lipped about what he's doing.”
Glenn Howard could not be reached for comment.
Around the corner at Jailhouse Antiques, owner Don Post was also given notice to vacate the building. Jailhouse Antiques has been in business about 18 years at its current location and a former store next to the Milton Theatre. Post said he's unsure of what the future holds.
“I've got to figure out what's next,” he said. “I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do. I'll see if I can find something economical in town or find some other alternative like shows.”
The building was recently sold to Lewes resident Stephanie Boright, who plans a renovation project to open a new restaurant, Vice Mayor John Booros said.
“When you don't own a building, that's the risk you take,” Post said. “She certainly has the right to do whatever she wants to do with that building.”
Jailhouse Antiques is open weekends and will remain open until the end of December. Post said he will participate in the Christmas show in Rehoboth Beach next weekend, then start moving items into storage.
Post said he's enjoyed his time in business, but worries losing two antique shops simultaneously could hurt the town.
“These antique shops, whether people realize it or not, they bring people to town,” he said. “Anything that is not a service provider in a downtown really does bring business to the town, and they feed off one another. [Customers] ask where is there a place to eat? Where is King's Ice Cream? Where is Dogfish?”