|WASHINGTON, Pa. – In this historic southwestern suburb of Pittsburgh – once home of giant glass plants Hazel Atlas and Duncan & Miller – the local antique market, many believe, is only going to get better.
During a time when nay-sayers are talking doom and gloom, the successful antique mall, Black Rose Antiques & Collectibles, is expanding into the town’s Washington Crown Center with a new 25,000-square-foot mall.
Black Rose owns two other antique malls in Pennsylvania, both of them filled with dealers, with a host of antique and collectible vendors on a waiting list.
Opening its doors the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Washington mall quickly grew from 30 vendors to 55.
“Typically, when we open and word gets out it just kind of snowballs,” says Barb Sipling, director of antique mall operations for Black Rose. “For those who are sitting on the fence, once they see our roll-out they decide to jump in … as a result, we will have pretty much available everything that falls under the antiques umbrella.”
One “fence sitter” was new dealer Russ Crupe, of Washington, who says he made the move after 20 years of “dabbling” in antiques.
“I just thought it was a great opportunity,” Crupe said. “There’s a lot of excitement about Black Rose coming here. They’re just a good company – they keep their hours open past the normal office hours.
“My sales are good,” he said. “About half the mall is already full; I believe that the mall will be filled by March. After that, they’ll have a waiting list.”
Crupe, as president of the local bottle collecting club, says now his members will have something to do between meeting sessions. Also, the Washington factory site for Duncan & Miller Glass Co. has been renovated into a museum. The company, renowned for its elegant vases and serving dishes, was for years a mainstay in the town.
Hazel Atlas, formed in Washington in 1902, was the first glass company in the country to craft transparent dinnerware for widespread use. One of its original factory sites still stands today in Washington.
The rich local history is expected to only enhance the new mall’s prospects.
“Black Rose Antiques & Collectibles offers a truly unique experience to our shoppers,” according to Michael Joyce, general manager of Washington Crown Center. “Several of our vendors feature items with ties to our region, so we are pleased to offer a piece of the area’s history to our shoppers.”
The original Black Rose Antiques opened 14 years ago about 200 miles east of Washington in Hanover, Pa., utilizing the town’s nickname, the Black Rose community for its trademark name. That mall, located in the North Hanover Mall, has 82 vendors, and a waiting list for new dealers.
A little more than a year ago, Black Rose opened another antique mall within the South Mall of Allentown. It hosts 137 dealers and also has a waiting list.
Black Rose officials won’t refute Crupe’s contention that the Washington Crown Center mall will be filled by March.
“It seemed to have all the demographics going for it,” Sipling says. “It’s right off Interstate 70, an easy access – and that was important. We’re near Ohio which, itself, has something of a Mecca going on with antiques. And there, is Canonsburg (Pa.) right down the road. They have a little collage of antiques and collectible shops, and we thought we could tap into that … and they could use us for more traffic. At the same time, we had this great old building – a former Old Navy location – that we thought was just prime.”
Contact: (724) 222-1673
Eric C. Rodenberg