Guy Knight has spent the last decades living his passion as he sold collectibles at the Salt Creek Mercantile on North Main Street.
He said he is closing the store to the public Saturday, although merchandise could take some time to be sold and removed from the store.
The decision has come about both because Knight and his wife, Martie, have decided to retire and because of social changes.
“Millennials really don’t collect things, and yet we have an aging population and they are passing down all these collectibles and antiques,” said Lloyd Swartz of Albuquerque Auction Addiction, which is holding online sales of the merchandise. “What you have here is a convergence of all this supply, but yet the younger generation doesn’t collect antiques. It really has reached almost crisis proportions. What are you going to do with all these things?”
Swartz said many people who run antique and collectible stores today do so only as a hobby, as abundant supply and decreasing demand have lowered prices.
“Prices have dropped a lot over the years,” he said. “That hat tree over there has value. It’s probably worth $200. But a few years ago, it was probably worth $700, $800.”
The Knights, in their 70s and 60s, made the decision to retire about four weeks ago.
“Martie was talking to me and she asked, when are you going to relax?” Guy Knight said. “I said, what are you talking about? She said, well, when are you going to sell your store? I said, well, how about if we sell out right now?”
They aren’t certain what their next step will be, but hope to do some traveling.
“We are ready to go have some fun,” said Martie Knight, although she concedes that the situation is emotional and that it is difficult to let go of a business in which they invested their “blood, sweat and tears.”
Guy Knight added, “I want to start doing the trips so I keep busy. I cannot stand sitting.”
Originally brought to Roswell by family in the Air Force, Guy Knight said he left for a long time and later became a businessman who worked internationally, gaining his appreciation for collectibles from that experience, as well as from a mother who enjoyed collecting antiques. He said he has loved the business he purchased in 1999, especially that it introduced him to people all over the world.
“I know antiquers from England, France, all over,” he said. “They call me, send me texts wanting to know what I have and then the locals come in wanting to know, ‘What’s this?’”
In addition to cases of jewelry, the Salt Creek collections include Native American head dresses and memorabilia, military uniforms, paintings, furniture, guitars, arrowheads, dolls, ceramics and numerous other items.
Linton Miller, the head of Roswell Home Furnishing a few doors to the south, owns the retail space that the Knights lease. He chose not to comment publicly on the Knights’ decision.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.