It's always 1:30 p.m. at Bojo's Antique Mall on Summer Avenue, according to the rusty, stopped clock atop the popular antique shop. But come May 31st, it'll be closing time for good.
Bojo's owner, Robert Griffin, 72, is retiring from the antiques business, and he's selling the property at Summer and National to a Georgia development firm that creates dollar stores. The bright-red building will be torn down to make way for new development.
Bojo's has occupied the 43,000-square-foot shop at 3400 Summer for nearly 20 years. The building that currently houses Bojo's was once home to Fortner Fine Furniture, the company responsible for installing the iconic clock. — Bianca Phillips
Flyer: Will you be keeping the clock after Bojo's Is torn down?
Robert Griffin: No. I have no place to put it. It is kind of a historical piece, though.
What will your vendors do when you close?
I have about 35 or 40 vendors. A lot of them will be locating their booths somewhere else. I have vendors that have been here from day one. All these dealers are my friends. It's going to put a hardship on them having to find a place to go to. All of our customers are really unhappy. I've got one lady who comes in three or four times per week, and she doesn't know what she's going to do.
Has eBay and the online antiques market hurt your business?
Any competition hurts, and eBay hurt strong for a while. But now it's not so bad. A serious collector likes to pick the thing up and hold it and look at it. If you buy it online, it might be misrepresented. And then you're unhappy, and it's hard to get your money back.
What are some of the most memorable antiques that have been through the store?
The most expensive thing was a half-tester bed. That's a bed with half of a canopy. It was from the Victorian era. We're always getting off-the-wall stuff.
We have a penny scale in here that supposedly came out of the old Hotel Peabody, right after they had the fire. You step on it, put a penny in, and it weighs you. We've been asking $12,000 for it, but we'll take less now. It's from around 1880.
We also had a 1929 A-Model car. I had it in a glass showroom out back.
There are a lot of birds in cages by the register. Where'd they come from?
We have 13 cockatiels. It started out 20 years ago. When mother passed away, she had a cockatiel, and we couldn't get anybody in the family to take it, so I had him down in the other store. When we moved, he came down here with us. He lived 19 years.
People would see him and give us their birds. All that we have now were given to us. Everybody loves them, especially the kids.
Will you be having a big sale before the closing?
All the dealers are putting sales on from 10 percent to 75 or 80 percent. We'll start really dropping prices on May 1st.