The Dart: Local woman preserves history through antique shop

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Susan Jinright has been in Troy all her life, and her interest in history seems to have been that long.

Jinright was in the Alabama school system for 30 years. She said she taught the gifted fourth and fifth-graders at Troy Elementary School for the last 18 years of her career, and she enjoyed it greatly.

“I taught them the Holocaust,” Jinright said. “I thought it was very important, not only the history aspects, but also that if we know things from the past, we can make good judgments in the future. We won’t do such horrible things.”

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Jinright’s interest in history goes beyond the oral stories or those in books. Her love for the old days also ties to physical objects.

“It is important that you can actually see and touch a piece of history,” she said. “I also value the creative, the continuity of things that was made in the past, and you can actually use them (at the present).”

Jinright said her appreciation for the physical objects that had been unbroken by time was one of the reasons why she opened an antique shop 30 years ago.

“We come from a family who loves antiques, who like history and the creativity that they involve,” she said. “(My husband and I) both have a love for history and ancient things.”

Jinright’s husband owns an old country store museum, and they started the antique shop while they both had other employments.

“We were fortunate that our side job, (the antique store), was as much an adventure to us as a business venture,” she said.

The shop’s inventory accumulated over the years as Jinright and her husband bought whole content of houses.

She said it was risky to do so, but it seemed to always work out with the items they found.

Although Jinright’s shop carries a variety of antique items, paintings were what appealed to her most, she said.

“I collect paintings or pictures of houses and buildings, either folk arts or formal arts, because they reflect history,” she said. “And I enjoy seeing architecture regardless of the artist style being simple or complicated.”

Jinright said her shop was not only a place for antique odds and ends, but also a keeper of old folk arts, featuring pieces by local artists.

The articles in her store on occasions also give people a more wholesome look into the past.

Jinright said the Troy University Department of Theater and Dance has bought items from her store for their plays’ sets. Moreover, the set dresser of “The Long Walk Home” bought several pieces from the 50s period when the production team was filming in Montgomery.

Jinright said she tried to keep a wide selection in her shop to appeal to the different tastes and styles of both young and older customers.

“I like to be optimistic to think that there will always be a place for antiques in the future,” she said.