Before he opened Michigan Authentic Treasures in Trenton, Ted Smith was a collector.
His passion for antiques and collectibles eventually lead to a full-time business buying and selling items found in storage lockers.
Smith said he considers he and his wife, Barb, the Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante of Trenton. Schulz and Passante are known for being the only husband and wife team of fortune hunters on A&E’s “Storage Wars.” The two also own a resale shop in Orange, CA, where they sell items found in storage lockers.
Smith, his wife, mother Joyce and brother Justin spend most of their time trying to find interesting and valuable items to sell in the store.
“We get a lot of this stuff from storage auctions,” Smith said. “It’s a little bit like TV depending on what auctions you go to.”
Smith added some auctions have storage bins that haven’t been opened in years.
“Sometimes the storage facilities will have their own locks on them and no one knows what’s inside,” Smith said.
Smith said he likes to fill his shelves with a little of everything, so each customer can find exactly what he or she is looking for.
“We’re not trying to be a clothing store, but we have clothes,” Smith said. “We’re not trying to be a furniture store, but we have furniture. What we want is a little bit of something for everybody.”
Trenton Patch editor Nate Stamen asked Smith five questions about his business. These are the questions followed by Smith’s responses:
When did you open?
"April 20 of this year."
What’s so great about doing business in Trenton?
"The City of Trenton came in and it's almost like they wanted me to open my store. The people of Trenton are amazing. City officials were in here helping me."
What sets you apart from other resale shops?
"We consign for people who want to sell stuff here and we take 50 percent. We have items from other local businesses in Trenton like the owner of the Fish Doctor, who has sports memorabilia for sale."
What’s your most interesting item?
"The item that people ask the most about, and I will never sell it is the "Brain” from “Pinky and The Brain.” You want to know why? Because I can’t find another one anywhere else."
Do you buy things from people who come into the shop?
"I don’t really buy things from people who come in, like ‘Hey Ted, I want to sell you this camera.’ That’s not really how I do it.
"I’d be more apt (to buy) if you said, ‘Hey Ted, my grandpa’s got a barn in Belleville and he’s wanting to move down to Florida, and if there’s anything you want to come look at?'
"We’ll set up a time. Hook up my trailer and we’ll go down there.
"Sort of like the show “(American) Pickers.” We’ve been doing this for a while, but we never considered it an avenue of business. We did it for things we wanted…now it has turned more towards that (making a profit)."
Michigan Authentic Treasures is located at 2320 West Road. The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. mOnday through Saturday.