When antique collectors Bob Evans and Linda Tsardakas visited Las Vegas, they were impressed by high-definition giclee prints. Inspired to start their own gallery, Sarah Amelia Antiques & Giclee, the couple sought out a handful of artists and photographers to share the inkjet printing technique with Rochester.
Evans and Tsardakas opened their antiques store and art showcase this year at the Village Gate. Sarah Amelia, Tsardakas' late grandmother, was the inspiration for the name of the store.
"She is the reason I became so interested in antiques," Tsardakas says.
The shop features hundreds of antiques like bedroom furniture sets and clocks, ranging from the 1700s to retro and vintage items from the 1970s.
"I really enjoy searching for antiques. I get to meet so many people and hear so many stories," Tsardakas says.
Partners Tsardakas and Evans attend estate sales and auctions often to maintain their fully stocked store. They have found items from different areas, including the southwestern United States and various parts of Europe.
Businessmen and women who pass by the shop during their lunch hour are frequently caught staring at the high-definition giclee prints hanging on the walls. The antiques store showcases work from several Las Vegas photographers. The colorful, bold images of cities, landscapes and people are eye-catching.
The term giclee (zhee-KLAY) is used to describe a certain standard in printmaking technology, in which images or paintings are scanned to high-resolution digital files. The digital images are reproduced on watercolor paper using a high-tech ink-jet printer. Giclee photographs usually are displayed with special lights.
It takes some eight hours to print a 40-by-60-inch image, Tsardakas says. The prints at the store cost $220 to $380, depending on size and image.
The shop also features a display room where customers can sit and stare at the massive giclee photographs. Tsardakas says people love to spend time in the room, adjusting the lights that illuminate the image and watching as certain aspects of the photograph appear to shift and evolve.
"This helps people see what they are buying. It's not just a normal photograph or something you throw on a wall," Tsardakas says. "It's entertainment for them, and a really unique experience."
Customers have spent hours in the display room, sometimes analyzing each giclee in the shop.
So far, the store has appealed to a wide demographic.
"We get a lot of young couples and elderly who want a special piece of furniture or a specific item to add character to their home," Tsardakas says.
Her favorite thing about the location is the social aspect: The store gets most of its business from walk-in traffic. In the first few months of business, several teachers have brought their classes in to discuss history and major events or time periods.
"I love that each piece has a story behind it. Once they walk in the doors and have a chance to look around, kids love it," Tsardakas says.
Tsardakas still has her first antiques store in Caledonia under the name Sarah Amelia Antiques, a much smaller space than her new location at the Village Gate. Business has been steady at the Rochester location since its opening.
"We sell about one to two big things every day and lots of smaller ones," Tsardakas says.
The owners say their collection just keeps growing and growing.
"The only problem is storage. You just need so much space for all the great things we find," Tsardakas says.
Katie Burgstrom was a Rochester Business Journal summer intern.
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