Everyone seems to collect lots of stuff over the years, and sometimes those things manage to get stored in attics, garages and other available spaces. But not everybody turns all those forgotten items into a business.

“We are fascinated by other people’s junk,” says Mike Chiles, co-owner of Attic Treasures, a new indoor flea market in Redwater, Texas that opened in April. “You’d be surprised what people just walk away from.”

Mike says he’s discovered items like a Victor Victrola in one abandoned apartment and a box of baseball cards in another vacated residence. “I’ve found cards for Babe Ruth, Nolan Ryan, and Mickey Mantle,” he says.

Mike’s wife, Kathryn, says she’s made a hobby of collecting items from garage sales, estate sales and auctions. “I always liked to find a good deal on things and then resell them,” she says. But then family members started giving her their unwanted items, and pretty soon it all began to accumulate.

“I used to have so many garage sales,” Kathryn says. “My garage was so full I could barely fit my car in it.” She also maintained a booth at the Cedar Chest in Texarkana.

The Chiles started looking for a place where they could either store their belongings or sell them. When they came across the building they currently occupy on Highway 67 in Redwater, they debated on getting it for almost a year. Finally they moved in and Attic Treasures was born.

“People come through the store and take a walk down memory lane,” Kathryn says. She oftentimes hears people say, ‘My grandmother had one of these.’

“We really do have a little bit of everything,” Kathryn says. “People would be surprised by what we have.”

As I perused the shop I came across everything from ceramic teapots shaped like houses and sewing machines to a collection of porcelain owls in various shapes and sizes, and even a collection of children’s shoes which looked as though they had never been worn.

“I’m surprised that my crystal hasn’t sold well,” Kathryn says. “But people love cast iron pots with lids. We can’t keep them in stock.”

The Chiles also purchase new items from wholesale warehouses, including sets of Egyptian cotton sheets. “Those keep me in business,” Kathryn says.

The store also carries gently used furniture which it sells at fabulously low prices.

“Business has been slow and we haven’t been as busy as we expected for being on Highway 67,” Kathryn says. “But we hope as people hear about us they’ll start to stop by.”

Mike and Kathryn both retired from the Bureau of Prisons Federal Correctional Institution in Liberty Eylau. She was an assistant manager in the records office there, while Mike was a counselor. They currently live in Maud, Texas.

For more information about Attic Treasures, call (903) 276-1845 or send an email to kchiles@aol.com.

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