Antique dealers plan trip to Europe ASAP as they move business online

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Andrew and Heather-Anne Ritchie, owners of the Great Expectations, Antiques & Decorative Arts Centre, in their building on Middle Renwick Road.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Andrew and Heather-Anne Ritchie, owners of the Great Expectations, Antiques & Decorative Arts Centre, in their building on Middle Renwick Road.

The owners of an antique and decorative arts store in Blenheim are ready for “another adventure”.

Andrew and Heather-Anne Ritchie, owners of Great Expectations, Antiques & Decorative Arts Centre, have sold their building in Springlands and are moving online.

“We have decided to withdraw from day-to-day retail,” said Andrew Ritchie.

“I’m an antique dealer and can’t stop buying and selling, so we’ll just deal online and keep bringing containers in from Europe.”

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The 72-year-old businessman said he plans to travel to Europe as soon as possible this year.

“We need another adventure, it’s very boring when you can’t go out and buy stuff.

“The fun is looking for stuff and finding stuff.

“It’s also fun to sell it, but the most fun is to search and find unusual and rare items and present them to the public. That’s the best thing… to find it.

Between 1200 and 1500 lots are displayed at the Great Expectations, Antiques & Decorative Arts Centre.

Scott Hammond / Stuff

Between 1200 and 1500 lots are displayed at the Great Expectations, Antiques & Decorative Arts Centre.

The couple made their last trip abroad in 2019 in a large van, traveling 11,000 kilometers through the UK, Belgium, Italy and France to fill an entire container.

“We haven’t been able to do that since then.

“We had to rely on auctions and buy shares in New Zealand, and it was not easy.”

Their 400 square meter warehouse, on Middle Renwick Rd, averaged between 1,200 and 1,500 backlogs, ranging from a Guerlain perfume advertising stand to Native American antler heads and other Japanese embroidery on silk.

The best part of the antiques game is finding “unusual and rare items,” says Andrew Ritchie.

Scott Hammond / Stuff

The best part of the antiques game is finding “unusual and rare items,” says Andrew Ritchie.

Ritchie, who owned an antique shop on Grove Rd for 13 years, said it cost him $4,000 to bring in a 6m container from the UK.

“I think it’s probably three times that now, and we used to get them here within 44 days and I think it’s going to take a lot longer now.”

Ritchie said business had always been good, with “stable demand”, despite Covid.

The couple sold their Middle Renwick Rd property in early March.

Scott Hammond / Stuff

The couple sold their Middle Renwick Rd property in early March.

The couple had sold their entire Middle Renwick Rd property, which was nearly 1600m². The gym in the other building remained.

Ritchie said the site was bought by a local person.

“This is a great site, on such an important route in Springlands.”

Great Expectations, Antiques & Decorative Arts Center will close on May 27, with a two-day auction on April 30 and May 1.

An old record player at Great Expectations.

Scott Hammond / Stuff

An old record player at Great Expectations.

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