How exactly did a Southern girl who grew up in Sandfly and a native New Yorker from the Bronx join forces to start one of the most whimsical and interesting shops in all of Sandfly?
To understand the Sandfly Market Place, you have to know Amber Lair’s and Krystle Venticinque’s story. The store, which is the biggest in Sandfly now that BILO has closed down, expresses both their differing styles and tastes and that’s what makes it so quirky and eclectic.
The story starts when both were growing up in their respective locales. Amber Lair lived in a house just across the street from the current location of the Sandfly Market Place (J.C. Clements at the time). Her grandfather collected old guns and gave her the itch to go out and discover her own treasures. She loves barley twist tables, sterling silver, and interestingly enough, mounted animal heads. In fact, she just bought an Elk head from a museum in Hilton Head and it’s worth a trip just to see it.
Krystle’s grandfather owned a shop in the Bronx, which spurred a love in her for all things vintage with a story to tell. She adores chairs. (If you need or want a chair and can’t find one here, you’re just not trying). She also collects composition dolls and doll parts. Krystle finds the aging, broken dolls with cracked faces and missing body parts lovable, though they look a little creepy to me. But to her it’s all about the story. These once treasured possessions were cast aside by future generations of grandchildren who preferred the perfection of plastic ones over the authenticity of the composite ones. Krystle says their beauty is in their imperfections.
Amber and Krystle also believe in supporting their community and are involved with many community events and charities. This year, they plan to hold a Holiday Market, which will benefit the Humane Society. On December 12th, they’ll have a silent auction, bands and plenty of food and drinks. (Call them if you want to participate or donate items for the auction.)
About 3 years ago, the ladies (who like to refer to themselves as “Amber and Krystle the two gems” when visitors ask their names) started with about 7,000 square feet selling local arts and crafts, and not much else. But, the shop quickly morphed into a huge 12,000 square foot antique mall that can keep a browser busy rummaging for months.
You know that feeling you got when you climbed into you grandparents attic for the first time and discovered all this stuff from days gone by. If you were lucky, you happened across a box of old baseball cards or comic books, a porcelain doll or just some old timey movie picture. Well that’s exactly how it feels to wander into the Sandfly Market Place. It’s 12,000 square feet of just about anything you could want, think of, or never know you liked until you stumbled across it.
Amber and Krystle’s philosophy is simple. They want to make their customers and vendors happy and that means turning things over quickly and adding new stuff constantly. They don’t hold out for top dollar like some antique stores. Instead they price their finds reasonably to move the items fast and make room for more fascinating stuff.
This is not just stuff for the highbrow antique seeker. It’s for everybody. College students looking for a cool piece of furniture or a picture to enliven a dorm room come here, so do young couples with children, affluent retirees and collectors and hobbyist of all obsessions. Everyone is likely to find something that strikes their fancy and before they leave three or ten more items that they’ve just got to have.
But for both Krystle (who exudes it) and Amber (who plays it down), it’s mostly about having fun, enjoying people (customers and vendors) who come in and out, and discovering new and interesting treasures every single day.
– Article by Chris Brantley