|By Starr Miller
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The Heart of Ohio Antique Center has been described a number of complimentary ways: The country’s ’Biggest and Best,’ and one of America’s ’Best Resources for Antiques.’ The establishment and its staff are not resting on their laurels, however. With a successful past behind them, Heart of Ohio is looking toward the future with a dedication to consistency and continual improvement in their field – all while celebrating 20 successful years in the business.
One of the country’s biggest antique center – boasting 122,000 square feet of quality antiques, 1,425 booths and showcases — has grown to include a 6,000 square foot furniture gallery. The Antique Furniture and Accessories Showroom made its official grand opening on March 31, and it’s a feature that the Heart of Ohio is certain will offer that much more to their customers.
Robbie Sager, who serves as assistant manager at Heart of Ohio Antique Center says the additional wing to the facility is one that was vetted as a necessity, one led by the company’s customers.
“We have people come in all of the time who are looking specifically just for furniture,” Sager said. “We understand that our facility is very impressive in size, and while we have many customers who come in to browse and participate in what we collectors refer to as ’the hunt,’ we also have just that many people who come to Heart of Ohio shopping specifically for furniture. We are able to now direct them to this space. We used to say, ’furniture is everywhere,’ to those looking for furniture pieces, but now it’s a much more structured space.”
Heart of Ohio is known as a top resource for antiques – Martha Stewart Living magazine rated the facility as boasting an “impressive selection of Victorian-era furniture and vintage collectibles.”
In an industry that ebbs and flows as much as the next, it’s important to Heart of Ohio that they too bend to the ever changing climate of their industry – a feat that Sager notes is one they take seriously.
“We see so many changes in this industry. Personally, I have seen trends and buyers tastes come and go, but there is one thing that is staying consistent, and it’s that every single shopper that comes through our doors at Heart of Ohio – they want a variety of dealers, and they want quality choices. So that’s something we really try to display, if you will. We make sure that every person has a potential purchase offered to them in our facility. And we make sure that we offer quality to buyers across the generations.”
Reaching out to the Silent Generation all the way to Millennials is a task all of its own, but Heart of Ohio says they are fully on board to ride the tide of changes — and the shoppers that come with them.
“In my opinion, the biggest ’thing’ right now is that people are looking for something that they can use – and personally, I don’t think it matters what age group they fall in to – so maybe a more seasoned buyer, they want a dresser that maybe they can use and then pass down as a family heirloom. Vintage clothes are always good, but those sales have really been growing. Again, those are items that still serve a utilitarian purpose. People are also buying sterling silver – and advertising is always hot, even when other things have been slow.”
And in light of the ever-changing industry, Sager says that furniture is always selling.
“Even when things were quiet, people were looking for furniture at Heart of Ohio. It’s interesting to see buyers from all across the board, buying furniture right now. The younger generation is seeking out more Mid-Century modern, while we see the 30-something generation seeking out items that are high quality but less quantity. I have seen – and because I relate most to this generation because of my own age – that this generation, we just don’t like clutter but what we do have, we want something more high end because we are at an age where will we take care of it.”
Overall, Sager says, the Heart of Ohio looks forward to what the future holds – and will welcome the changes in the industry with positivity.
“Yes, we are definitely on an uptick. I came here six years ago, and this past year, it’s been every single day filled with buyers, and it’s awesome. You are always hearing that this industry is growing, and we can say from experience that it most definitely is doing just that.”
Heart of Ohio’s indoor-outdoor antique center is located at 4785 E. National Rd. in Springfield, Ohio at the intersection of I-70 and US 40, 35 minutes from both Columbus and Dayton. The 26-acre complex provides ample parking and easy access for motor homes, trucks and trailers and semis. Tour groups and tour buses are always welcome. The facility is open 362 days a year, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.