74-Years-Old and Counting
by Josy Jones
A scarlet brick face, royal blue awnings and bold, white lettering greet you from the street. The sidewalk in front is decorated with chairs, pots and other goodies, all urging a passersby to deviate from her plans, slow down and explore. Like always, temptation wins and the bystander is standing in the doorway overwhelmed by what she thought was a little antique shop. Do not be fooled. Stagecoach sells antiques, but it is not small. It has ample room, countless items and includes a building out back with much more to explore.
Stagecoach Antiques is located at 449 West Market Street. From its walls to its merchandise, Stagecoach Antiques houses a lot of history. The store has three levels━not including the structure out back━all of which are covered wall to wall with antique valuables. The oldest items in the store are from the Victorian era, dating between the 1860s to 1880s. The current Stagecoach building has been its home for 40 years. It was once a part of a strip of approximately 20 antique stores stretching up West Market from Stagecoach Antiques up to a street across from Chin’s Place called Stewart Way.
Stagecoach has an astounding amount of goods, but it didn’t happen overnight. It began 74 years ago in the dining room of Mr. Leo Walter’s mother. Walters started out by collecting postcards and refinishing furniture. As expected, his mother wanted her dining room back, so his work was relocated to the basement. Eventually, his work grew and he moved his entrepreneurial spirit and love of antiques to a storefront.
Mr. Walters began thinking beyond a storefront; he decided to host Akron’s first estate sale in the basement of the historic Portage Hotel (which closed in 1965 and is now the SummaCare building) and continued doing tag and estate sales throughout the years. Eventually, he started a family and the legacy continued.
When you visit, a light-hearted woman with glasses may greet you. That’s Eileen Moats, Mr. Walter’s daughter. Eileen was born into the business and recalls spending a lot of time helping her father while she was young. Eileen and her siblings helped clean merchandise and organize things for estate sales. She began working in the shop more and more and Stagecoach is now entering its third generation, with Eileen’s daughters helping her to continue its growth and evolution. They try to keep things simple, so there are no punch cards or fancy gimmicks, but they now sell items online and have a strong social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.
Stagecoach Antiques is a 74-year-old family business. Everything you see and touch has been, as Eileen puts it, “pre-loved.” They believe in great customer service. Their clientele is diverse; they serve everything from families, to mosaic artists, to glassblowers, to button collectors and more. Their antiques are just as extensive as their clients and you can find everything from vintage hats to vintage furniture. They even have old Akron postcards that tell the history of our great city. Best of all, they have withstood the test of time. They encourage everyone to love old things and visit them in the upcoming holiday season. Looking for a great time to go? The day after Thanksgiving, they have a big shopping day and offer treats and an amazing shopping experience. Look for the royal blue awnings and you’ll be walking into a small slice of Akron history.
Follow Stagecoach Antiques on Facebook @Stagecoach.antiques and on Instagram @stagecoachantiques. Learn more and get updates on upcoming sales at stagecoach-antiques.com
Josy Jones is has been in Akron ten months and somehow already considers herself an Akronite.