Holland Road antique store closes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sydney’s going to miss the crowds.

She’ll miss the people that came by Farmer Frank’s shop on Holland Road, smiling and chatting with her. The ones that became regular faces over the past year and a half, that would walk with her around the store, sometimes picking her up in their arms to help her get somewhere she might have been too small to reach on her own.

That’s because, after 18 months of living her lifelong dream, Sydney’s owner Pat Stanley has to close the building – and the three-year-old Yorkie won’t be able to come around anymore.

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&uot;Pat has been collecting things for five or six years,&uot; said Stanley’s friend Mary Baines, cleaning up the shop, which closed Saturday. &uot;It was always her dream to run an antique store. People came by and sat on the front porch to talk, and Pat gave out free coffee in the winter. She’s very proud of what she has here.&uot;

Stanley, who hosted a Ruritan Fest cookout in May, is scheduled for surgery today for an undisclosed reason, and may have to undergo several more, leaving her incapable of running the store, which she rents from the Portsmouth law firm Griffin and Pappas.

&uot;It’s been very hard on her,&uot; Baines said, &uot;but she’s ready to move on.&uot;

After beginning her collections at local yard sales, Stanley, who spent over two decades teaching school in Stafford, decided to turn a former livestock warehouse into the home of her ambition.

&uot;She added the porch and had the floors refinished,&uot; Baines said. &uot;She really did it all by herself. This was what she liked to call a down-home country store. She loved her customers. She loved greeting them when they came in. She just tried to make it a fun place to come.&uot;

Customers like Elizabeth Nakayama felt the enjoyment.

&uot;This gave me the thrill of the hunt,&uot; said the Wilmington, N.C. artist. &uot;I came for things to use in my art, like old buttons and pictures. Anytime you see a mom-and-pop place like this go under, it’s sad.&uot;

She and the rest of Stanley’s customers will have one more chance at her offerings – they’ll be auctioned off Oct. 9 and 10.