PARSONSBURG — Antique meets modern at the Route 346 Emporium in Parsonsburg. Billed as “5,000 square feet of treasures,” the Emporium contains everything from furniture to tools and art to memorabilia to collectibles.
As important as the items on sale is the atmosphere, which is open and neighborly, a throwback to the building’s original days as a community gathering spot at the turn of the 20th Century.
“The store actually opened in 1910 as a country store,” said co-owner Joe Holloway.
And it remained a country store up until Joe Holloway and his wife Faye decided to try something new starting in May of 2012. Since both enjoy collectibles, antiques and furniture, that’s what they decided to fill the large store with. It’s a combination of business and hobby that the Holloways are passionate about.
“We just love this stuff. We’ve always found this type of stuff fun,” said Faye Holloway. “So now it’s kind of nice to pass it on to people and see them have fun with it, or to educate people.”
There’s a lot of education available at the Emporium and not just for the customer. All of the pieces have a story behind them and one of the best parts of owning the store is getting to hear the histories behind everything, according to Faye Holloway. There are pieces of furniture decades old, turn-of-the-century memorabilia and other slices of Americana on every wall.
“We never know what we’re getting. We get really an education piece … It’s really interesting that we find things that we don’t know what they are and people will come in and tell us, sometimes, because we’re not antique dealers but we end up with antiques, so we’re learning, we’re constantly learning,” Faye Holloway said.
What makes Emporium especially unique is that it’s not just antiques. There’s a healthy mix of the modern on every wall and in every corner. It’s not unusual for people to stop by with a dresser or table only a few days old that the owner just decided they didn’t like. The Holloways are open to looking at most any piece because their goal is to have a store that is full of surprises.
“We just buy what we come across that we think is a decent price that we maybe can sell for a little profit,” said Faye Holloway.
Besides antiques and furniture, the other thing that the Emporium is best known for in Parsonsburg is its atmosphere. It has been a landmark in the community ever since that 1910 opening. This is actually the second time that Joe Holloway has run the store. He first purchased it in 1985 and continued to run it as a country store until 2003. When it became available again in 2012, that’s when the decision was made to move to furniture and antiques.
“When we re-acquired the store, we didn’t really want to go back into the country store, convenience store type setting,” said Joe Holloway.
However, the friendly vibe and local watering hole feel never left and the Emporium serves as something of a gathering place even though it’s no longer a country-style store.
Another bonus is access. Joe Holloway serves on the Wicomico County Council. He’s as available in the office as any other public official, said Faye Holloway, but can be informally reached in the store pretty much whenever the door is open.
Route 346 Emporium is open Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call 443-880-3082 or 410-546-4515 or click to www.route346emporiumllc.com.