Meridian Industrial


1/7/2020 | Keith O'Connor


When it comes to antiques, everything old is new again.

For those shoppers who like to take a step back in time, Southwood Antiques and Marketplace in Enfield has been “celebrating the past and embracing the future,” to quote its website, since opening in 2017.

The marketplace is the brainchild of Gary Raffia, owner of Raffia Plaza where the store is located, whose major hobby is collecting and reselling antiques and collectibles.

“Gary was definitely the instigator. He thought opening the marketplace with us would be a good use of a vacant storefront in his plaza,” said Margo Ross, who along with Richie Caravello are in business together.

“Each of us has a day job. I am a realtor, Richie is a landscaper, and Gary is a farmer, whose family farm has been in Enfield for over 100 years.

They rent space to vendors – some 21 of them today after starting with just four – and have some 3,000 square feet of space with room to grow.

Ross noted that antiques are becoming rarer these days and collectibles are becoming even more popular.

“When I think of antiques I think of my grandmother’s Victorian home filled with period carved furniture and gleaming crystal to the New England colonial houses with their primitive farm tools and crockery. We have a large assortment of vintage and collectibles ranging from ‘50s Kitschy Kitchen ware to Jim Bean bottles to re-purposed furniture,” Ross said.

According to, there has been a debate for years over what qualifies as a bona fide antique. The website noted that “an object of considerable age valued for its aesthetic or historical significance” is considered to be an antique, one that is “more than 100 years old.” Items not quite that old, but at least 20 to 25 years old, are referred to as vintage, such as clothing, jewelry, furniture and other items. Collectibles refer to any items, regardless of age, that someone collects for a variety of reasons. Examples include coins, comic books, Ty Beanie Babies, limited
edition products, licensed items that bear brand names such as Coca-Cola or “Star Wars” and so much more.

What makes antiques and collectibles so attractive for some people?

“There are so many different reasons. But I think for most it is the memories that a particular item may bring back for them…..a certain era it represents. We have a lot of older clients who we might hear say, ‘My grandmother had that’ or ‘My mom had something like that,’ and it brings a smile to their face,” Ross said.

“For our younger customers, I think it is the whimsy of it. Many also come in looking to capture a certain style that might be popular at the moment such as farmhouse – a style that is distinguished by the use of natural textures including wood and galvanized steel. It might be an old tin bowl, basket, or even an old wall hanging once seen in a farm house,” she added.

Ross noted every vendor in the store comes across the items they are selling in different ways.

“Some of us just go out and look for things at flea markets to buy and resell. Others have many items in their personal collections that they want to sell. For me, personally, my parents were antique dealers and I inherited a great amount of items that I can’t use in my lifetime. So, it comes from my personal stock. Also, some of my clients who are moving and want to get rid of a few things often just give them to me. Gary has been a collector for decades and Richie has a variety of places he gets his items,” Ross said.

Ross noted vintage teacups and saucers are something many people are looking for at the moment.

“Many people are holding old-fashioned tea parties. One woman came in and was holding a bridal shower and was looking for nearly 100 teacups. Other popular items right now include vintage vinyl records, old cameras, anything mid-century, Depression glass and doll house furniture. I just sold a Michael Jackson album for $25,” she said.

The antique dealer noted that one of the more interesting items in the store that sold recently for $750 was an antique red metal fire box you would once find prominently on many street corners.

“One of my more unique items includes a Tibetan singing bowl with copper and silver inlay, which is probably about 100 years old. These bowls have been used for centuries for healing and meditation purposes. They create a range of sounds to heal and restore the normal vibratory frequencies of diseased and out-of-harmony parts of the body, mind and soul. It is just not something you come across very often. And we have another vendor who specializes in vintage toys,” Ross said.

And, if you don’t see what you are looking for at Southwood, all hope isn’t lost.

“We have a special book where customers can write down what they are searching for along with their contact information. If you don’t see it at one of the booths in our store, it doesn’t mean we don’t have it. We might have the item in stock at home or see it in our travels,” Ross said.

Store hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10a.m. to 5p.m., and Thursday and Friday from noon to 7p.m.

Southwood Antiques and Marketplace is located on 89 Raffia Road in Enfield, CT
For more information, visit, follow them on FaceBook or call 860-749-3292 or 860-977-0270

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