This Month’s Featured Article

Celebrating 30 Years – The Millerton Antiques Center

By Published On: July 3rd, 2023

It seems that 2023 is a big year for many businesses in our area, and they have a lot to celebrate! In this very issue we are featuring not one but two local businesses who are celebrating big birthdays this summer. The Millerton Antiques Center on Main Street in Millerton is celebrating 30 years, and on previous pages you may have noticed our story about Lia’s Mountain View in Pine Plains, which is celebrating 40 years this summer. We celebrated our 10-year anniversary this past March, and we know what these huge milestones mean to the business itself, the owners, and employees as well as to the customers. We were able to catch up with Bob Murphy, one of the Center’s owners to learn more about 30 years of antiquing. That said, we’d like to wish everyone at the Center a very happy 30th – you’ve never looked better!

How does it feel to celebrate 30 years in business?

It feels great knowing that the Center has been such a vital part of the town for so long. We are very grateful.

How did the MAC start? 

Bob Quinlan owned the building back in 1993, and it was his idea that the big, empty building would lend itself to an antiques center. He hired Stuart Miller and his partner Eddie Porr to get it up and running. They put out the call, and slowly other dealers joined. One of those very first dealers, Fred Radl, is still at the Center. MaryJean Hoss – Flanagan back then – started helping out as de facto manager, and then in 2001 when Leslie and Bill Flood took over the Center, she became the actual manager. When the current partners took over in 2010, the one condition was that MaryJean would agree to stay on.  

How did the Center grow into its current form?

In the beginning, there were a dozen or so dealers spread out over two floors with an open staircase in the middle. When Leslie Flood moved her upholstery business from Amenia to Millerton, the downstairs was dedicated to her business. When she and Bill left in 2010, we told Bob Quinlan that we did not need all that space, and he agreed to seal off the staircase and make the downstairs a separate store. That’s where Montage is today.

For those who don’t know or aren’t familiar with it, can you explain what the Center is and how it works?

We operate differently from most antiques centers in that we don’t charge our dealers a commission. Dealers pay a monthly rent determined by the size of their booth. We take care of everything else – the taxes and all the overhead. All that we ask is that they keep their booth fresh with new merchandise. That is what our customers expect. They know that they can come in two to three times a week and always find something new. Stale merchandise is the kiss of death for an antiques center.

What can customers expect when they walk through your doors?

I hope they will find a warm welcome and. as I said, new merchandise no matter how often they come in. They’ll also find that with 34+ dealers, there’s a large variety of items – from early American to mid-century, from paintings to textiles and rugs, from vintage books and toys to vintage jewelry, and from ephemera to vinyl records.

Afters 30 years of business, have you seen it all?

Well, we’ve always been pleasantly surprised that most visitors to Millerton make a point of checking out the Center. Our spontaneous, walk-in business has always been strong. 

What have some of the biggest challenges been? What has changed the most for you and the Center?

Like everyone on Main Street, the three-plus months we were closed during COVID were challenging. We weren’t sure customers would come back. As it turned out, it was the tactile, hands-on nature of our business that people missed after months of ordering online. They came back.

What impact did COVID have on your business?

Once we reopened, business boomed; fueled mostly by all the second-home buyers who relocated during COVID.  They needed furniture, housewares – everything. The usual sources had backlogs of nine months. They could come to us and leave with a table, chairs, dishes… no waiting. We joke that when the furniture they ordered finally arrives, they will probably sell those make-do items they bought back to us. That’s fine. Antique stores are the original recyclers.

How do people’s tastes and aesthetic preferences affect your business?

Tastes change all the time. Ten years ago young people wanted instant decor from Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel. There was a lot of beige. Antiques were not on their radar.  Now they seem to see the value of mixing things up. That brand new, contemporary sofa looks even better with an old pine table that has patina and history. Not to mention that it’s probably better made.

How has the community that you’re a part of changed in this time, and what do you feel the role of the Center has been? 

Back in 1993, it was just the Antique Center. Now there’s Montage, Cottage & Camp, and Hunter Bee … and that’s just our side of Main Street! We all support each other and refer customers to each other all the time.  It’s a great community.

What changes do you predict in the coming year – or 30?

We will begin our next decade with a new manager. MaryJean, our manager of many years is semi-retiring. Not leaving, but stepping back. Our very capable assistant manager, Barbara Wadsworth, has already stepped up to the manager role. She may make a few tweaks along the way, but most customers won’t notice a thing. It will be the same welcoming place it has been for the last 30 years. 

What are you doing to celebrate the big birthday?

We’re going to kick it off on the Fourth of July weekend with a 30% 30th Anniversary Sidewalk Sale. But it won’t be like sales where you put out things you want to get rid of. We want to show off some of our best stuff with the enticement of 30% off.  We’ll also have a month-long event in August where everyone who makes a purchase will get a chance to win a $300 gift certificate. We plan to celebrate right up until the end of the year in one way or another. •

To learn more about the Millerton Antiques Center you can visit them at 25 Main Street or online at or call (518) 789-6004.