Weekly Feature



2017-12-06 / Business

Old Chapel Antique & Artisan Market opens in NT

by ANNA DEROSA
Editor


Sue Szyjka, Joanne Vanderheite and Jeanette the Elf have fun restocking the shelves after many shoppers found keepsakes and gift ideas from Sue’s Collectables at the Old Chapel Antique & Artisan Market, at 172 Robinson St. 
Photo by Sarah McIlhattenPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Sue Szyjka, Joanne Vanderheite and Jeanette the Elf have fun restocking the shelves after many shoppers found keepsakes and gift ideas from Sue’s Collectables at the Old Chapel Antique & Artisan Market, at 172 Robinson St. Photo by Sarah McIlhattenPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com With its high ceilings and stained-glass windows, the former Ascension Church is an intimate setting for shoppers at the Old Chapel Antique & Artisan Market, at 172 Robinson St. in North Tonawanda.

The market, owned by North Tonawanda natives Jacob and Jennifer Wankasky, held its open house on Saturday during the Lumber City Winter Walk, which allowed visitors to peruse artisan made holiday décor and antiques.

The couple moved their market to their hometown after it outgrew their previous space in Pendleton. The 2,500-square-foot shop was called 5 Corners Country Store and Antiques.

After noticing the resurgence of business, especially on Webster Street, the Wankaskys started to look for a specific type of building in the area. The church piqued their curiosity and led to the Lumber City Development Corp. putting them in touch with Natalie Brown from Project 308 Gallery.

Brown’s family had purchased the building when it was for sale, and now the Wankaskys lease the space for their market, providing them with more than 6,500 square feet of vendor space.

“We have kind of an even mix of antiques and locally made artisan goods that we allow vendors to showcase here,” Jacob Wankasky said. “The beautiful space fits with the mold of what we were looking to do here.”

With more than 50 vendors, he added that the products range from old-fashioned candy and homemade fudge to fine antique furniture.

“We have a lot of great dealers that we’ve worked with in Pendleton,” Wankasky said, noting that they had many vendor requests when working out of the smaller space. “We’ve also had Sweet Briar’s Antiques join us, who recently sold their building in Tonawanda. They were open for 25 years.”

Wankasky is looking forward to people being able to come back into the church.

“We’ve attended this church our entire life. I was an altar boy here. My parents and brothers were married here. My grandfather’s funeral was here. We have a strong connection to the church. And, you know, a lot of people were really sad when it closed 10 years ago.”

“The fact that my grandmother will be able to come back in here … it will be really nice that people will be able to enjoy the space again, that it’s not just locked away.”

Working in this type of business, Wankasky enjoys being able to take items and put them in the right place where someone will appreciate them or find a new use.

“People collect different things for different reasons, and sometimes a lot of older items or antiques are kind of forgotten about,” he said.

For example, he came across some older yearbooks at an auction.

“A gentleman had been looking for this specific yearbook for the last 15 years. It was his father’s yearbook from Hutch Tech,” Wankasky said, noting that the man and his mother were almost in tears when they came across it at the store. “It was only a $5 item, but to them it was priceless.”

The couple has a goal to use the balcony in the church by having a coffee lounge up there where customers can take coffee and baked goods.

“And, we’ll have bistro seating up there where they can overlook the space and spend time here,” Jacob Wankasky said.

They would also like to contribute to the building’s history and are working on a display that will feature old artifacts from Ascension Church. Wankasky noted that they hope to continue to add items from the public as well.

The market is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information, call 545-6102, or visit www.theoldchapelmarket.com
or www.facebook.com/TheOldChapelMarket/.

email: aderosa@beenews.com

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