In late 2004 we realised the potential of Ancient Relics (our previous business) and the possibility of expanding what we offered considerably – in particular, antiquarian books, collectables, antiques, and the unusual.  In 2005 we managed to purchase (subject to council approval) our present building at 51 Formby Road, Devonport, just 200 metres from our original store.  It was a costly and challenging exercise to undertake, with multiple issues to contend with in terms of use of the building and asbestos contamination. Finally, in 2007 we were able to re-develop the building, changing it from the empty shell of a warehouse into 1600sq.m. of showroom space over four levels.

In September 2007, after 6 months of development, we finally opened the Antique Emporium. This led to the expansion of our imported lines. Every year since, I have been spending at least one to two months visiting and buying in remote parts of India, China, Java, Vietnam, USA & the United Kingdom, and then shipping 40 ft containers of goods back to Tasmania.

Along with the imported lines, we created the largest second hand/antiquarian book shop in Tasmania.  An entire level of the store was developed with multiple spaces for dealers, and I became NW Tasmania’s “professional picker”, traveling the entire north of the state buying collections and deceased estates.

Every week I’m on the road picking the state, going door to door through farms, houses and old sheds bringing truck-loads of items back to the shop.  We now supply movie sets, theatre groups, designers, hotel chains and multiple stores Australia-wide.

My dream was to create a wonderland of the unexpected, from new and old collectables to the weird and wacky, interesting old architectural items, collections of all types, and items for re-purpose. A place where you will be surprised, a place to explore. We didn’t want to set it out like a boutique or up-market antique store but create nooks and crannies for you to discover, which lead me to call it the Antique Emporium.

I continue to look for how we can expand and create more interest. Over the last few years, we have added “The Shed” for all blokey things; our multimedia area with 4000 LP records, DVDs and CDs, a collection of over 1000 cameras, and we have expanded to over 20,000 old books in store. The shop now holds 40 dealers showcasing their furniture, collections and interesting items.

It’s the type of store that is changing every week, sometimes I’m even surprised by what I find in here!  Every item has a story – just ask me. My dream has become a reality and it really is a wonderland full of history and surprises. We hope to see you in store soon to explore all the nooks and crannies for yourself.

Happy Treasure Hunting,

John Cole.