GENESEO — Antique-lovers looking for treasures can find an abundance at C&S Antique Mall in Geneseo whose logo is “Where old is a good thing.”
The two-story building just west of Geneseo on U.S. 6 holds 55 dealers. Mall owners Cindy and Steve Hancock — thus the C&S — launched their business at 705 W. Main St. in April 2008 while they were working elsewhere.
Born and raised in Geneseo, they set a retirement goal to open an antique mall in downtown Geneseo.
"Steve is a contractor (Hancock Construction in Geneseo)," Cindy Hancock said. "And when this building became available, he saw the vision and went for it.
"I was working in retail, so we hired help to run the mall," she said. "However, we learned early on that to be successful, you have to run your business yourselves."
She quit her job and C&S became her full-time career. The mall is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Cindy Hancock said she is on-site six of the seven days.
"My job is to oversee the booths and help customers find a treasure,” she said. "Steve helps me on Sundays at the mall or when he is done working for the day. He is maintenance at the mall, and both of the mall levels are well lit and my customers love how clean it is."
Steve Hancock also is a very creative guy. Almost all mall visitors notice the large working clock on an entrance wall that he made from 24 handsaws, one for each half hour.
It made such an impression to shoppers that the couple had postcards made with the words, "I SAW it at C&S Antique Mall."
The couple also has four part-time employees. Steve Hancock said the key to the success of a small business is the owners' hands-on customer service. The mall is closed Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day — or when there is a bad snowstorm.
The couple’s love for antiques began during their courtship. Steve Hancock was raised on a farm with a family home filled with many antiques, giving him an appreciation for them.
"When we started filling our home, we were given some antiques and we attended sales," Cindy Hancock said. "We both like the quality of good furniture, one-of-a-kind treasures. The quality in good furniture is hard to find in today’s furniture. We both like to collect and look for different things for our own home.
"Our home is an extension of C&S — just ask our kids," she said. "We do keep our fair share when we are out shopping and searching for treasures, and I have a nice collection of vintage Christmas."
The couple admits they find themselves traveling, looking for merchandise for the mall. To have a good business, they said, you first need to have something to offer.
A true antique, according to Cindy Hancock, is at least 100 years old.
"Steve will travel 100 miles to find treasures so we do not compete with local dealers," she said. "We have tools and gadgets that we don’t recognize today, and sometimes we have to ask experts to help us identify them."
Currently, the mall has 1950s medical equipment that today is referred to as “quackery,” she said.
“Collecting is simply preserving items from history to be saved for future generations,” she said. “It’s funny how things come back — like vinyl records that were thought to be obsolete and were replaced by modern technology. Those are now making a comeback because of the one-of-a-kind sound, touch and feel."
Other treasuress at C&S include furniture, signs, glassware, jewelry, linens, toys, books and holiday items.
"I always say you never know what is coming through the door,” Cindy Hancock said. Her husband commented that antiques are "what decorators are copying for the future."
The mall has many shoppers from out of state and even out of the country. It advertises on signage along Interstate 80 as well on the web at c&santiquemall.com, on Facebook at c&santiquemall, and Instagram.
Their biggest hurdle in the early years, she said, was "letting the public know about us.
"Collecting is a hobby, and you can always learn something from it," Hancock said. "Men and women can collect different treasures, but do share the hobby of antiques together.
"I know what some of my customers collect," she said. "So I do contact them when something comes in that they might want."