Downtown Browsery marks 10 years in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2014 at 12:00 am

Group has grown to 29 vendors and expanded to second site

Photos by Tom Rivers – Some of the long-time vendors at the Downtown Browsery include, from left: Karen Appleman, Lucy and Scott Sackett, Linda Hollenbeck and Kim Remley.

ALBION – Ten years ago a group of 13 vendors joined to open the Downtown Browsery at 14 East Bank St. The group wanted an outlet to sell antiques, collectibles and other merchandise, but none of the vendors wanted to go solo with their own shop.

The Browsery has proven a successful model, allowing vendors to share costs and time in running the store. They also believe a bigger number of vendors serves as a draw for customers.

“The primary impetus was to get downtown revitalized,” said Kim Remley, one of the original vendors. “We saw it as a start to get things rolling in the downtown.”

The Browsery has many holiday-themed items for sale.

The Browsery has grown to 29 vendors and two sites. A second location, The Uptown Browsery, opened last February.

“It’s fantastic,” Remley said. “We’re thrilled.”

The Downtown Browsery has also seen other antique and collectible shops open near Albion, including several on Ridge Road. With about a dozen shops fairly close by, Scott Sackett said the Albion area has become a destination for antique and collectible shoppers.

That’s why he and his wife Lucy have been vendors with the Browsery for nearly a decade. The couple lives in Batavia and they saw more potential for their merchandise in Albion.

Scott Sackett made this birdfeeder resembling a cardinal.

“There is no antique market in Batavia,” he said. “This area has become an antique and collectibles destination.”

Sackett makes birdfeeders from scrap lumber and they have proven his top selling item, with about 400 sold in Albion over the decade. He and his wife are vendors at both the Downtown and Uptown sites.

Karen Appleman has been at the Downtown Browsery since the first day, selling vintage collectibles. Customers like to buy rotary phones, toys from generations ago and other nostalgic items, she said.

“People like to come in and reminisce,” she said. “They see a lot of things from their childhood and the prices are reasonable.”

A rotary phone, books and other items are for sale.

The group has a board of directors, which is currently led by Maureen Bennett. Appleman said the vendors all pitch in for rent and other expenses. She said Ron Vendetti, owner of the East Bank Street site, has kept the rent affordable, allowing the site to succeed for 10 years.

Linda Hollenbeck also has been a vendor for 10 years. She and many of the other vendors have full-time jobs. The Browsery has proven to be a way for them to be in business without the full-time burden of managing a storefront.

The site continues to find new customers, even long-time Albionites.

“We still get a lot of first-timers, even people from Albion,” Hollenbeck said. “They always have positive comments about the shop.”

For more information on the Downtown Browsery, click here.

Maureen Bennett is the current chairwoman of the Browsery’s board of directors.