NEWINGTON - Stroll into a time machine and return with souvenirs from simpler days.
This is what Fred Carter envisioned when he and business partner Robert Kusiak opened the doors to KC’s Gold & Collectibles in September 2014. It’s fair to say the clock has only gone backward since then, and that’s just how they prefer it.
The tiny shop at 50 Market Square in Newington is as neat as a pin but eclectic enough to spend several hours inside, poking through relics collected, traded and purchased over the course of several decades.
“I love maintaining old things,” says Carter, an Avon native. “There are stories that come out of these objects that make people happy.”
That’s the idea. The one he and Kusiak had when their paths crossed and conjoined in a lifelong passion. Building upon it meant finding a way to preserve the old and share the love.
“We live in a very disposable economy now; nothing is built to last anymore,” Carter says. “When you find something beautiful, it’s worth holding onto.”
Ironically, ephemera make up a large portion of their collection. Think postcards and card advertisements with whimsical hand-drawn pictures and silly sayings, widely distributed in the late 19th century. These were meant to live short lives and few cherished long enough to live on today.
The vintage resale shop has plenty, painstakingly preserved in plastic slips and often taken out to be photographed in a tabletop studio cube by Carter, who beams at the mention of anything made before the Titanic sailed.
“I want everyone to be able to find something that interests them here,” he says. “We’ve always loved the idea of the treasure hunt.”
He studied history at the University of Colorado at Boulder, before returning home with a blooming passion for America’s past.
“It’s fun to preserve the past because it teaches you where we’ve come from. This country has come a long way and it’s interesting to follow the journey.”
Right now the shop is undergoing a redecoration, to be made more accessible to coin collectors and the like.
Vintage coins and jewelry are for sale, along with old-fashioned games, books, toys and home goods. The owners are happy to consider buying these items as well, to expand their own collection.
In terms of precious metals, they boast the best offers.
“We encourage people to shop their gold and coins elsewhere so when they come here they see we pay the most for them,” explains Carter, not the type to knock competitors, just one to call it as he sees it.
Customers who refer others are rewarded ten percent of the price the referred customer is paid for their goods.
“If you have something old and you want to find out what it’s worth don’t throw it out or undersell it,” Carter says. “Bring it in to us.”
They also do house calls. This appeals to older folks who live day-to-day life among exquisite relics but don’t necessarily wish to bring them out into the world to barter and sell.
“We love coming to you and assessing your estate items,” Carter says. “It’s during these trips when we really get to see people in their comfort zones and learn the history of their treasures.”
He’s traveled as far as Litchfield and New Haven to pay visits to collectors and homemakers alike.
“Our ultimate goal is to connect people with their childhoods and happy memories,” he says.
Whether it’s a vinyl record or a baseball card that memory lives inside; movie poster or teapot, it is awakened among friends. And if any purchase fails to evoke the nostalgia intended, KC’s offers a 14-day, money-back guarantee.
Well, that’s all folks.
Except for one thing, which needs to be made clear before any potential buyer, seller or browser enters the lair of gold and goods: This is not a pawn shop.
Vintage resale is a different ballgame entirely. Simply put, loans are not offered here and no funny business is welcomed.
KC’s Gold & Collectibles is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m.