HESSTON — Emma Creek Antiques and Auctions is celebrating 10 years of being open this month and the family-run business has gone from serving local customers to attracting purchasers from other states.
The antique store is housed in a building that was constructed in 1887 and held Hesston's first post office. Originally located on the west side of Main Street, it was moved to its present location at 100 N. Main St. in 1906.
The building was a hardware store for more than 50 years before being bought by Lloyd and Sue Vogt.
"Dad grew up coming here," said Lloyd's son, Troy Vogt.
Troy said both he and his father had memories of the old hardware store, which had been owned by a distant relation, and wanted to see it used again after the store closed and Lloyd retired from farming.
"My dad was an auctioneer who got into antiques and began collecting stuff," Troy said. "It was kind of a natural thing to start an antique store."
With their family's help, the Vogts renovated the building, shoring up the floorboards and adding on extra space.
"They put about two years of work into this building," Troy said.
At first, the store was solely his parents' project, but Troy's appreciation for collecting slowly drew him into the business as well.
"I slowly dipped my foot in here and realized I was knowledgeable, good at it and could retain information well," Troy said. "I could do this and make a job out of it."
At first, the store saw constant turnover in its inventory.
"When we started, you could put anything in here and it would sell right away, which was wonderful," Troy said. "Over time ... we saw a dramatic drop in sales."
As the economy changed and budgets tightened, it has become more of a challenge to sell antique items.
"We're kind of at an interesting point now, because the baby boomers have been supporting the antique business for the last 20 years and they're starting to go the other way — they're starting to sell things, downsize and move into smaller homes," Troy said.
Adjusting to changing demand and tastes in decorating for the Generation X clientele was necessary for the Vogts to keep customers coming in the door.
"They like more of the chrome and mid-century modern look," Troy said. "The hardwood stuff that is high quality and will last forever is just not in right now."
Troy also followed in his father's footsteps by getting an auctioneer license and becoming a Realtor, allowing him to work with customers who are looking to sell both their home and some of their possessions.
"If they have some pieces that are really nice or exceptional, we'll put them in here, we'll have an auction or we'll do an estate sale," Troy said.
Emma Creek Antiques and Auctions even offers online sale services for some items.
"There are people who think they have stuff that is worth a lot of money and it's not, and then there are people who don't think their stuff is worth anything and they're throwing thousands of dollars away," Troy said.
One of the most unique items sold at Emma Creek Antiques and Auctions was a rare 1935 Diamond Matches matchbook depicting a football player that brought $2,000.
"It was the most rare one out of the set," Troy said. "You just never know what you have."
Troy not only appreciates seeing rare items in his store — he also enjoys meeting the people who stop in to shop.
"What's kept us in business is being right off of the interstate and only 25 miles from Wichita, Salina and Hutchinson," Troy said. "It's an easy day trip for people."
In recent years, Emma Creek Antiques and Auctions has attracted customers from as far away as Dallas, along with a few TV celebrities.
Troy said he was glad to leave behind the stress of working in a career promoting concerts in Wichita to assist his parents with the antique store.
"It's been great to be able to spend time with my dad and mom," Troy said. "For years, I tried to run away from Hesston and what everyone expects you to be, and it's really nice to come back home."
Emma Creek Antiques and Auctions is celebrating its milestone by offering 10% off most of its merchandise through Aug. 31 and having door prizes Aug. 29-31.
"It's been a lot of fun," Troy said. "I've enjoyed it and I hope we're here another 10 years."
For more information about Emma Creek Antiques and Auctions, call 620-327-4118 or visit https://vogtauctions.net.