A Chat with Ric of R. Jorgensen Antiques
Insider Scoop in the Antiques Business
R. Jorgensen antiques isn’t your average antique store, nestled in a strip mall, filled to the brim with aged treasures. It’s different. The first picture I saw of the inside of the store struck me because I didn’t feel like I was looking at a store. I felt like I was looking at a furnished house. This is partially because the store is in fact, in an old mill house that was built in 1685 in Wells, Maine, but also because of the way that the antiques are arranged. I can imagine walking into the store, admiring the Sampler in the foyer, taking it off the wall, and bringing it to the register. The Jorgensen’s have furnished this wonderful old home with beautiful antiques. Ric pointed out “The rooms are more crowded than what people would normally live with.” I quickly pointed out that my mother (who collects antiques) has her house much fuller than this photo. Ric chuckled, “Well, antique lovers are mostly pack rats, right?”
R. Jorgensen Antiques was established in 1971 by Robert and Rebecca Jorgensen. Previously, they ran a Pepsi-Cola bottling plant in Montana. After selling it, they worked in the Peace Corps in Ghana for 2 years before settling in Maine. Rebecca passed away 14 years ago, but Robert, at age 97, is still in the store 7 days a week! Now, his children Ric and Pamela run the shop. Ric’s son, David, is in charge of the workshop. Each family member brings something unique to the business. Ric gravitates to more formal, English furniture while his sister is drawn to more country style pieces.
The mill house itself is historic. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also one of the oldest houses in Wells. For more on the history of the mill house, visit http://www.rjorgensen.com/about. Ric said the antique business has changed. “Twenty-five, thirty years ago,” he said, “my father and I would take a trailer to an auction, ‘cause we knew we’d fill it. Now, if I go, I fly down in the morning and I’m back that night.” Why is that? Ric said, “Because antiques are all owned. People are interested in antiques and have been for a long time. So, they just don’t come on the market as much as they used to because people are living with them.” Ric’s enthusiasm and love for what he does is inspiring. “It’s a business that, if you’re lucky,” he said, “you can buy things that you really like, and your clients agree."
You can tell by looking at Ric’s showroom (http://www.rjorgensen.com/showroom), that he and his family definitely have good taste. In response to my compliment of his show room, he said, “There is a constant pressure to buy better; after you’ve had 4 or 5 of this level, buying another one, unless its dirt cheap, is boring.” What makes Ric excited about his business? He shared that, "for those dealers who are truly involved, you will regularly come across things you’ve never seen before. That is exciting.” R. Jorgensen Antiques carries all types of antiques from armoires to beds to secretaries to needlework.
Please visit R Jorgensen Antiques right here on Latique.