Stepping inside Waterworks Antiques, among the many antiques, visitors will notice brightly colored birthday balloons, announcing the 20th anniversary of the business.
The four-level antique store is located near the Washington Riverfront, at 1 Elbert Drive.
Owners are Sandy and Dale Bolte and Helen Hallam. Dale Bolte primarily works on refurbishing furniture while Sandy Bolte and Hallam collect and stock merchandise and help run the shop.
Sandy Bolte wasn’t new to antiques when she opened the shop in Washington. She owned an antiques mall in Eureka called Ice House for 14 years.
After moving to Washington, Bolte opened Waterworks Antiques and ran both shops before eventually passing on ownership of Ice House.
Bolte said her original interest in antiques started after she took a class in furniture restoration and refinishing.
Hallam lived in Dallas, Texas, when she started dealing in antiques in 1986.
“I always loved antiques,” she said. “My parents collected them.”
In 1996, she and her husband decided to move to Washington. Hallam became a dealer at Waterworks Antiques and joined as a partner about 11 years ago.
In the years the pair have been dealing in antiques, Bolte said a lot has changed.
“The whole antiques business has changed,” said Bolte, adding that merchandise is harder to find than in retail stores.
“You have to educate yourself, because the public wants different things at different times,” she said.
“You have to educate the customers as well as yourself,” Hallam added.
Both said people often don’t realize that they can buy a quality piece of furniture for their home that will hold its value for less than buying something new.
Unlike some shops, the ladies don’t sell new items, besides handmade soaps, candles and pottery. The shop does not carry reproduction items.
There is a wide selection of furniture and primitives, and stock changes often.
Currently, the store has nine dealers, including Hallam and Bolte, who also take part in area antique shows.
Both said their goal is to continue to support Downtown Washington.
“We try to be ambassadors for the city,” Bolte said.
A birthday celebration will continue through the month of May. Visitors can enter to win gift certificates, which will be drawn weekly.
Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.