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New Resale Shop in Trenton Takes 'Storage Wars' Approach

Ted Smith, owner of Michigan Authentic Treasures in Trenton, said he began buying old stuff for himself and, eventually, decided to make a business out of it.

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.

Many of the items for sale in Treasures can also be found on Ebay.com and Craigslist.org.

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 , 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.

For questions about items found in this story email Ted Smith, visit the Treasures Facebook page or call the store 734-671-0522.

Sue Morency May 01, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Hey Ted......My 8 year old grandson Frankie is totally enthralled with your store.....he recently purchased a marionette clown he had his eye on....I so appreciate the fact that you took time to advice him on how to bid on an item......he loves collecting and the fact that you take the time to talk to him is so awesome......good luck and God bless your business. sincerely, Sue Morency
Ted May 02, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Thanks Sue! Frankie drives a hard bargain. He's been in the store a couple times and he is the exact type of customer I love. He ask questions and even taught me a few things. At the end of it all he found a Treasure, he got it at the right price and we both made a new friend. Thank you for the kind words. Tell Frankie I said hi and I am working on getting that ventriloquist dummy for him to check out. Ted Owner Michigan Authentics Treasures
Nate Stemen (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 02:51 PM
What's the most valuable item you own and would you sell it for the right price?
Pamela Schappell May 02, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Very cool, i am in the same business. I own and operate a store called Encore in Pottsville, PA. I wish you much success :)
Ted May 03, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Thanks Pam!. Nate, the most valuable thing I have is set of lithographs and narratives by Brad Bennett. All signed and number 40 of a 1000. Everything in here is for sale for the right price. My knight sold so that is not available anymore. The Brain is still the coolest though.
Jeremy July 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Will you take $85 for the huge woody doll if you will i need your email address please
Mary Webb March 21, 2013 at 04:22 PM
This is Mary-I was in the store yesterday..I had bought all the pageant dresses. If you could please call me 734 778-1696....

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