Kelly Schultz, who once sold an antique Chinese vase for $1.5 million, plans to open a new shop in Clarence to sell high-end antiques and art to well-heeled customers.
In a converted auto showroom, he'll display Tiffany lamps that cost $50,000, paintings by artists that may sell for $5,000 to $50,000, bronze and marble statues, and other costly items that he now keeps in a back room of his existing business, Antique World, or in his office.
"This will be my place for the best of the best. A place for my special paintings and bronzes, ornamental rugs and lamps," Schultz, 65, said of the new store he hopes to open about a half-mile from Antique World.
"Antique World will remain in place, but this will be a special store open a few days a week. It will be that store that when you walk in there is going to be a 'wow factor,'" Schultz said.
On Wednesday, he unveiled to the Clarence Town Board his $1 million plan for 10855 Main St., which includes the upscale antique shop and seven luxury apartments. Schultz said he recently purchased the property from Transitown Dodge for $355,000. He plans to invest another $1 million into transforming the 7,500-square-foot showroom into 14,000 feet of mixed retail and apartments.
Architect David Sutton told the Town Board that a new building on the site will replace the current monolithic building and be a "presence in the community" with a rooftop terrace, painted brick, upscale lighting. Also in the plans is construction of a detached 10-car garage for tenants that will serve as a buffer to the south end of the property.
Schultz said the building will be named the Delahaye, in recognition of the merging of the former car dealership and his antiques business, which once sold a 1940s-era antique French car, called the Delahaye, at a high-end auction for $313,500.
"Antique World is for the bargain hunter. This will be for the sophisticated buyer looking for something of quality," said Schultz after Wednesday's meeting.
The plan, enthusiastically received by the Town Board, will go to the Planning Board for further action.
Schultz started with a small antique store in Alden as a teen and then opened a retail store in downtown Buffalo. He moved his antiques business to Clarence in 1978 in a small shop attached to his house. Antique World opened in 1981 and has grown over the years to four buildings, a total of 100,000-square-feet on 150-acres of land, with hundreds of co-op dealers and 375 storage units.
Schultz gained fame in the antiques world when he sold an 18th century Chinese porcelain vase at auction for $1.5 million.
He said a customer who owned the vase was ready to let it go for $100. He said her family had traveled way back when and she wasn't sure how old it was.
"We had pictures of (the vase) sitting in the living room between two rocking chairs with dried flowers in it," said Schultz. "I told her to let me photograph it and advertise it and even if it's not real old you will get more than $100 for it - but never thinking a million and a half."
"All the stars aligned on that particular day," Schultz said of the auction.
He said interest in antiques has declined as of late, but he still finds success by knowing what to pay and what an item will sell for.
And Schultz also sells pumpkins.
He bought farmland next to Antique World 22 years ago and the auction building and surrounding farmland become the Great Pumpkin Farm for seven weeks in September and October. He said a contest offering $50,000 to anyone who grew a 1,000-pound pumpkin put his pumpkin farm on the map across the world. The Great Pumpkin Farm, which opens this weekend, has grown to include an Octoberfest weekend, a pumpkin weigh-off, a midway, a corn maze, magic shows, a haunted house for small children, hayrides and a bakery.
"We'll have nearly a hundred thousand people go through here over the next month," said Schultz. "This time of year all the dealers know I am busy with the pumpkin farm, but it's a good break. It's almost like a vacation for me. It's a very, very fun project for me."
In addition to Antique World, Premier Antiques, Schultz Auctioneers and the Great Pumpkin Farm, on 350 acres on Main Street, Schultz also owns the Clarence Courtyard Plaza.