Tiger and Gina Peterson invite patrons of Kendale Antiques to sit a spell and enjoy the homey atmosphere they’ve created over the past decade at their shop on Route 706 near Camptown.
Story and photos by By Rick Hiduk
(originally published in Living Bradford County Magazine)
Autumn is a great time for road trips and leaf gazing. And antique shops seem to be the perfect compliment to a day of traveling country roads to take in the foliage. Since 2012, one of the most popular stops in Bradford County for perusing peculiar pieces from the past has been Kendale Antiques. Nestled in the bucolic countryside between Wyalusing and Camptown on Route 706, Kendale Antiques is the brainchild of Gina and Karl “Tiger” Peterson.
Neither had dealt in antiquities prior to opening a shop in a converted machine shed on a farm owned by Gina’s brother, Jay Chadwick, and previously by her father, Jim Chadwick. They simply had an appreciation for old things that they wanted to preserve and share with others. Gina had worked as a secretary at the Wyalusing Hotel and other businesses in town, including Tuscarora Wayne Insurance, which her father greatly expanded in the years prior to his retirement in 1993. Tiger was employee #331 at Cargill (then Taylor) Meat Solutions, which has since employed tens of thousands of local people.
“We’re attracted to unique items,” said Tiger, who was encouraged by Gina’s father to pursue his interest in wood work. “He got me into refinishing and repurposing,” Tiger noted. Gina had been around antiques her entire life, and Jim was routinely involved with the business from the time that Gina’s mother, Mary Lou (Mott), passed away in 2011 until his own death in 2018.
The business was named after the property’s previous owners, Ed and Julia Kennedy. Julia was Gina’s great aunt on Jim’s side of the family. Gina and Tiger started small, never intending to fill the entire barn. “We thought, if we could just fill this room back here, that’s where we’d have our shop,” Gina explained, gesturing toward the former machinery area in an enclosed back corner.
But business took off with a bang in 2013. Jay poured a concrete floor in the large open area where farm equipment was once stored, and work was done to further enclose the building and protect merchandise from the elements. Nonetheless, the rustic look of the building remained intact and created the perfect backdrop for an expansion of their inventory.
From the start, the couple knew that variety would be the key to attracting new customers and bringing patrons back. While the Petersons are always trying to maintain their stock of higher-end pieces like Hoosier cabinets, stepback cupboards, enamel- topped tables, and secretary desks, people coming to the shop together often have different interests. “You’ve still got to have three-dollar items,” said Gina.
A popular nook in the shop has been the Men’s Corner, so named for its large collection of antique tools. Some are purchased because they are still useful, and others are taken to rustic homes and seasonal cabins as curiosity pieces and wall hangings. Likewise, cast iron skillets and other kitchen implements have been constant sellers. Other popular items include architectural elements like windows and doors, Mexican pottery, and tea carts. There is also an extensive collection of local memorabilia, including campaign pins and advertising pieces from old businesses in the area.
Initially, they acquired their stock by attending auctions, and they still have their favorite places in upper Pennsylvania and lower New York state that they frequent for buying. But, the longer Kendale Antiques has been open, the couple is often asked to help local residents empty out old farmhouses that have been passed down to subsequent generations.
The influx of new merchandise can, at times, feel overwhelming, but Tiger credits Gina for having a knack for staging antiques. “We’re very fortunate to have a lot of space,” Gina remarked.
The Petersons enjoy interacting with their customers, learning what their interests are, and often gleaning more information from them about pieces on display in the shop. “We learn a ton from our customers,” Tiger remarked. One example that he proudly displays is a gentleman’s trunk, also referred to as a whiskey trunk.
“We had one young fella – a woodworker from New York City – who identified it as being made from European mahogany,” Tiger related. Soon after, another customer looked at the dovetailing in the drawers and further identified the trunk as German-made. It’s one of few pieces on the floor that are not for sale. Like many of his favorite finds, Tiger uses relics like the gentleman’s trunk, with its numerous secret compartments, as teaching tools.
Similarly, his collection of anvils and related implements caught the attention of a fourth-generation blacksmith who visited the shop. “He came in and absolutely versed me on the anvils and the tools that go with them,” Tiger said of Rusty Sherrock, who serves as the resident blacksmith at the French Azilum historic site. Of particular interest was a V-shaped anvil that a traveling blacksmith would have wedged into the crotch of a tree. “The only reason I sold it to him was because it will be used to teach.”
Kendale Antiques is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm, but the Petersons are flexible. As Gina puts it, “If there are still people shopping at 3 o’clock, I’m not going to throw them out.”
From January to March, the shop is open by appointment only, which the couple has found to work well during the colder and generally slower months. “Those are the people who are sincere and looking for specific pieces,” said Tiger. Kendale Antiques maintains an active Facebook page and can be reached by phone at 607-427-2317.
Photos by Rick Hiduk
Tiger and Gina Peterson stand behind a 19-foot counter that was transported on a rollback truck from the former Hottenstein’s Country Store near New Albany.