FULTONVILLE — The final Saturday in April was the last Saturday the thrift store and antiques shop She Shed He Shed would be open for business — at least until the fall. Owner Vincent Crockett said necessity would keep the front door locked on the last day of the week for the next few months.
“Saturdays are when I usually go garage sale-ing,” Crockett said. “It’s when I go hunting for a lot of this stuff.”
He was standing in his store’s apparel section, between racks of neatly hangered denim pants. The ceiling here is tall enough to accommodate a large diesel truck, which the property did during a previous commercial incarnation.
Crockett picked up a pair of sneakers from a display. The shoes appeared never to have been worn.
“Eight bucks and they’re Reeboks,” he said. “Imagine buying new Reeboks for that.”
Earlier in the afternoon, a man had brought a box of merchandise into She Shed He Shed and asked Crockett if he was interested in buying the items. Crockett will accept some goods as donations, as a way for people to clear out some of their clutter, but he rarely buys things proffered by people off the street. The man soon left with the same box he had carried inside from the parking lot.
“I’d rather buy what I want to put in the store,” Crockett explained. “I’d rather go to the garage sales and pick the stuff myself.”
She Shed He Shed opened in late 2019.
Crockett had spent over 20 years performing inventory control for a private employer, but he was looking for a new career. He liked to do antiquing as a sideline and wanted to incorporate this interest and experience into a business.
A Randall native who now lives in Canajoharie, Crockett was intrigued by the barn-shaped building at 26 Riverside Drive in Fultonville. It was right off the Thruway, near a large truck stop and was available for sale. It seemed the perfect space from which to retail antiques to passersby. And toiletries and other new goods could be offered for sale to the truckers — a captive audience parked within walking distance of the store.
The property housed numerous commercial enterprises over the years.
“It started out as a five-and-10 type store,” Crockett said, standing in the back of the building, in a storage area where excess DVDs, books, puzzles, sporting goods and other items were being held until they would be needed to replenish the stocks on the sales floor. “And then it was a truck garage for a while. And they actually packaged sausage in here last. There are three walk-in coolers in here.”
Business was difficult during the first months of the pandemic, Crockett said, but as the area reopened in stages the store began paying its own way. This was also when it became obvious that antiques would not be the store’s flagship line. Thrift store items now predominate inside the shop.
“The antique market doesn’t seem to go over as well with the younger generation,” Crockett said. “We have antiques, but we have a lot of thrift items. We sell a lot of clothing.”
The trucker toiletries business segment never really took off, according to Crockett. Some new items are stocked for professional drivers, including packs of hand warmers and a bin of ratchet straps that are used for securing loads. Crockett said truckers do buy plenty of thrift items and antiques. He gladly helps these customers transport purchases to their rigs, at the truck stop separated from the store property by a vacant lot.
“I’ve taken barstools, beer signs, toys — you name it — over to the trucks,” Crockett explained. “Even weight sets.”
Prices recently ranged from 49 cents, for various magnets, kitchen utensils and toys, to $250, for an illuminated black velvet sign hung on a wall near the cases of antiques.
Business was very solid in 2022, Crockett said, and the first four months of 2023 were also good for the store’s bottom line. He makes his living from She Shed He Shed, whose name was selected because it was distinctive and a tongue-twister.
The skies and temperatures on the last Saturday in April resembled the cold grays of November. Sylvia P. Barnes of Fultonville was one of seven customers inside She Shed He Shed in the middle of the afternoon.
“I was sitting home today and it’s very gloomy,” said Barnes, pausing from her browsing in the apparel section. “And I thought, why wouldn’t I go there? And I’m just having a ball.”
Barnes had selected two pairs of jeans for purchase. She had spent 40 years living in New York City before relocating to Fultonville and said the store’s prices and selection reminded her of the stores she patronized as a Big Apple college student.
“When I first walked in here,” she said, “I inhaled and thought, ‘Oh my God.’ It’s such a beautiful store.”