By Josh Presley
A former New Albany resident has returned to open a new antique flea market.
Treasure Hunt Antiques, located on Carter Avenue in the old cheese factory, has been open since the first of June.
David McMillan, who owns the building, said he had been looking for an idea for what to do with it. He turned to his cousin, antique dealer and treasure-hunter, John Strawn. Strawn, who had owned antique shops in Louisiana and Florida, had the idea to turn it into an antique flea market.
“Getting the building ready has, so far, been a three-month process,” Strawn said. “It was kind of just a boarded-up buildling and my cousin, David, wanted to do something with it.”
Strawn said he put some windows in, cleaned out the first room to rent out stalls, and opened for business the first weekend in June. He’s been doing most of the work himself.
“I’ve rented out the room in the front, and renting out stalls in the back for people that sell antiques or used furniture, just miscellaneous flea market stuff,” Strawn said.
Strawn said he is cleaning out the building one section at a time, and hopes to have it all finished and ready for a grand opening around Labor Day.
“I’m paying the bills, that’s the main thing right now, and what money I’m making I’m putting back in the building,” he said.
Strawn said he wants to make the building a better place, as it is an old part of New Albany.
“It’s a really neat building,” he said. “There are brick floors that all lead to a drain from when they had the cheese factory, and we’ve got the old speaker and screen and some other things from the old Cine Theater that David is going to donate to the museum.”
Strawn is renting out 10×12 stalls at $100 a month, though all the stalls in his current room are full. More stalls will be available as he clears out more of the rooms and he said he has a list of four or five people waiting to rent spaces already.
“I checked some other places in the area and my price is in the ballpark, if not cheaper, for the space I provide,” he said.
Strawn has spent his life hunting down antiques for people, and he said that settling down into running a store has been an adjustment.
“I used to live in New Orleans and people would show me an antique item they wanted and I would travel the country and find it for them in a matter of a month,” he said. “I like chasing stuff down and it was really fun, but you get to a point where it’s just time to slow down a little bit.”
Strawn said that with the size and location of the building, as well as the positive reception to the business so far, he expects Treasure Hunt Antiques to be a success.
“Since I put my signs up I’ve had no less than 50 people a day come through this building and I only have the one room available,” he said. “When I open the whole place up, I could put a lot of people in here.”