‘Muscle’ Gym to Displace Antiques, Vintage Stores

Valley News Business Writer
Saturday, June 16, 2018

White River Junction — The owner of Upper Valley Coin & Jewelry has purchased the property that has been the longtime home of antiques and vintage clothing stores Heirloom Antique Center & Furniture Hospital and Mainly Vintage and plans to open a 24-hour private gym at the site.

Marc Garza has already relocated his Upper Valley Coin storefront from its previous location in West Lebanon to where the antiques and vintage clothing stores are based in White River Junction. He plans to open a gym called Vermont Barbells in the section of the building that will be vacated later this summer by Heirloom Antique Center.

“I used to own a gym in the past,” said the 1984 Hartford High School graduate and physical fitness enthusiast. He said Vermont Barbells would be “a low-cost, $30-a-month, old-school muscle gym” without the frills and fancy exercise equipment found in typical modern health clubs.

“People want that around here,” Garza said.

Garza’s former Upper Valley Coin storefront on Main Street in West Lebanon recently was taken over by Jeff and Nancy’s Country Cobbler shoe repair and gift shop, which relocated from Glen Road Plaza.

Meanwhile, Mainly Vintage is slated to continue operating in the back half of the building until its lease expires in June 2019, according to Garza. The store is beloved by vintage clothing seekers for its quality period apparel that harkens back to a more formal and stylish era.

Richard Brown, owner of the eclectic antiques store, said he had to sell the property due to health reasons.

Known for his skills at being able to repair and refurbish anything from electrical appliances to furniture, Brown opened his antiques store in 1992. His partner, Ann Hayden, opened Mainly Vintage in 2003.

The property, which sits at the intersection of North Main Street and Route 4, had been for sale for several years, but despite the favorable location never had enough parking space to attract such buyers as a gas/convenience store or coffee/doughnut chain, Hayden said.

Hayden credited commercial broker Jim Ward of the Portsmouth, N.H., Equity Group Realtors with finding a buyer. “He got it,” she said, about marketing the property. The sales price was about $335,000, both Garza and Hayden said.

Hayden said she and Brown would like to find a new location for the antiques and vintage clothing businesses, although given the high rates for commercial spaces in the area she realizes that will be a challenge.

“It’s the end of an era,” Hayden said. “We have a lot of sad customers.”