by Catherine Maddox
The Dothan, Ala., road is lined with houses built during different eras. Peppered throughout are small cotton fields and pecan trees. Fortner Street is Antique Attic’s home, a third-generation family business. Walking in, I am captivated by the antiques. I see jewelry, china, chandeliers, ample furniture choices and porcelain lamps. As I explore, Mary Veale, the owner, enters the building.
Mary gave me a tour and talked about the history of the business. Her mother, Jonnie Davis, loved creating plaster casts. In 1969, Jonnie’s husband encouraged her to start selling the casts out of a building originally built by her father. After trading various plaster casts for antiques, Jonnie soon realized that antiques were a wiser business choice.
Mary was raised in this store and eventually became the owner. Throughout the years, several buildings were added to increase the store to its current 16,000 sq. ft. Next to join the team was Mary’s son, Warren. After college, Warren went to London to obtain extremely extensive and exclusive training from Sotheby’s. With the benefits of this training as well as his travels, Warren is exceptionally knowledgeable about antiques, and he is available to assist as you browse through the store’s many treasures.
“With the amount of inventory we have coming and going, it is a challenge to keep the showroom organized.” Mary says, “I often call my buildings disorderly organized.”
Mary’s and Warren’s travels include visits to Italy, France, Egypt and more. In addition, they have buyers everywhere scouting for more treasures. If there is an item that needs to be found, they find it. When making a purchase, Mary’s first question is “Can I sell this on Fortner Street?”
Antique Attic offers assistance creating and ordering unique pieces from France or Italy—for example, an original marble or iron fountain for your front yard.
Antique Attic uses the Internet, too. Photographs are sent electronically to prospective buyers’ families and friends for a second opinion of their purchases. The store’s frequently updated blogspot is antiqueatticdothan.blogspot.com
I asked Mary what tips she has for people who may be intimidated to purchase antiques.
“Educate yourself. Visit museums. See the best pieces in the world. Soon you’ll know what you are looking for. If you like it, can afford it, then buy it.” Mary’s warning is, “If a store owner will not give you a written 100 percent guarantee on its authenticity, walk away.”
Visit Dothan, Ala., and reward yourself with a visit to Antique Attic, where “We Bring the World to Dothan” is the Veale’s motto and secret to success.