We’re always interested in how and why shop owners started in business. Since the Payson and Pine areas feature prominently in this issue, we asked Kathy Prentice to tell us her story. She started in the 1980s and reopened Once Upon A Time Antiques, Vintage & Gently Used items in Payson earlier this year. We hope you enjoy what she had to say:
Once Upon A Time Antiques originated down in the Phoenix Valley back in 1982 when I walked into an antique mail while waiting for the hardware store next door to open. The antique mall was having their “Grand Opening” celebration that day and they were giving out monetary prizes. I won a $35 shopping spree!
It took me all day to spend that $35 and while walking around, I kept saying to myself, “I could do this, I could do this.” After all, thanks to my Mom, I learned there was nothing wrong with buying used clothing for your kids, especially when you’re a single Mom. So I had already been frequenting yard sales and thrift stores to keep both my children decently and economically dressed.
Needless to say, before leaving the mall that day, I had signed up for a space with nary a thing to put in it. I was working full time back in those days, but fortunately had Fridays off with three day weekends, so out I ‘sailed” to every yard sale in a ten mile radius. By Sunday afternoon, I had my small space all filled up with great stuff and, by Monday, I had sold just about everything I had. The owner of the mall called me with some hard earned advice. I had just about sold out of everything to other antique dealers—guess I needed to learn something about pricing in this business.
It took me several weeks to come up with the name Once Upon A Time Antiques, but when I did I knew I had finally decided on a catchy name that people would remember. At the time, I was the only one in the State of Arizona using that name and it’s been the name of my business for 31 years.
Then in 1984, the company I worked for moved their business to Payson where I opened my first antique shop on Frontier Street. Some of you ol’ timers may remember me from way back then. In 1987, due to my daughter just starting her family, I closed the shop in Payson and moved to be near her in California.
Throughout my working career in accounting, I maintained my antique business on a part-time basis, sometimes being in several malls at one time.
Then in 2007, when I was finally able to retire, I could finally realize my dream to move back to the Payson area and be an antique dealer full time, which I’ve been doing by selling in various antique malls, until I finally was able to open my own store in Payson once again in January of this year.
So here I am at 616 S. Beeline Hwy, just north of the post office. Even though I had a rough start with a broken water pipe this past winter and a robbery just two weeks after I opened, I haven’t given up on the American Dream. It’s small shops like mine that keep that dream alive. And even though it’s a small shop, it’s still packed with enough goodies—including pictures, furniture, kitchen items, hats, Coco-Cola merchandise and various trinkets—to keep you interested for quite some time.
It is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The shop is closed on Mondays. Call Kathy at 928-970-0058.