Antique mall seemed like a natural for Dodsons

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Yvonne and Bill Dodson didn’t have a plan when they bought the spacious, somewhat dilapidated storefront on South Main Street last May.

Looking beyond the dirt, buckling floorboards and cracked tin-tiled ceilings, the Suffolk endodontist and his wife were able to see the potential in the structure where a Civil War veteran once manufactured carriages and buggies.


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&uot;We fell in love with the building the instant we saw it,&uot; said Yvonne Dodson. &uot;We bought the building, then began looking for things we could do with it. It’s just such a great place.&uot;

Today, after several months of renovations, the historic structure at 136 S. Main St. is home to the city’s first antique mall, Main Street Antiques.

So far, more than 70 vendors have spread a plethora of antiques and pre-1970 collectible items throughout the three-story building: hand-stitched quilts, a first-edition Dr. Seuss book, furniture, Depression glassware, vintage linens, and the list goes on.

Although the store still has display cases for rent, there are just a half-dozen floor spaces on the second and third stories for antique vendors to rent, Dodson said.

&uot;We really like the idea of helping other people realize their dreams of starting their own businesses,&uot; Dodson said. &uot;That really excites us, makes us feel like this is a good thing.&uot;

Although Main Street Antiques has been open for six weeks, the antique mall’s ribbon-cutting ceremony will be April 5.

Although a Portsmouth native, Bill Dodson and his family have spent most of the past two decades living in Florida. They moved back to Suffolk two years ago after Dodson, who gave up an aerospace engineering career at age 35 to study dentistry, completed his specialized studies and was ready to establish his own practice.

The idea for an antique mall sort of evolved from the couple’s jaunts to auctions as they began buying furniture for their new home in Westhaven Lakes. Once they bought the building, Yvonne contacted other antique mall owners in Hampton Roads.

&uot;They all had waiting list of vendors looking for show space,&uot; she said. &uot;This just seemed like the natural thing to do with this building.&uot;

The Dodson’s are hoping to create a pictorial history of their newly renovated building. Yvonne Dodson is hoping anyone with any pictures or other information on the Artman Building will share their information with her.

Also, Bill Dodson, an avid collector of old yardsticks given away or sold by businesses in the 1950s, is hoping to add to his collection. He is particularly interested in obtaining one that his grandfather’s store, John K. Kirchmier’s Hardware on Portsmouth Boulevard, issued, Yvonne Dodson said.