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Business Profile: WISE BUYS ANTIQUES

Tim and Carrie Wise

Founding members of the Niwot Business Association, Tim and Carrie Wise, owners of Wise Buys Antiques on 2nd Avenue in Niwot, have been involved for the past 40 years in just about every improvement to the community – from chairing the Local Improvement District to helping to build the Children's Park, to bringing a caboose and building a band-stand at Whistlestop Park.

"We're having fun," said Carrie. An exuberant woman with a glowing smile, she grew up in California's San Fernando Valley and worked in forestry for the Boulder Park Service when, while visiting relatives in Virginia in 1982 and having a drink at a bar, she met Tim, who jokingly used as a pick-up line, "Don't I know you from high school?"

Tim had grown up in Virginia and attended Virginia Tech, and though they didn't know each other from high school, before too long they had married and moved to Niwot, across the street from an antique shop. Tim got a job repairing furniture for the then-owner, and eventually they bought the business.

"In 1982, this town was dead," said Tim, sitting next to Carrie who was nodding her head in agreement. We were sitting inside Wise Buys Antiques talking at the end of the day one Thursday just before the couple was going over to volunteer at a Rock and Rails concert.

Just then, a young customer named Crystal Garcia, who works in the Trident Book Store in Boulder, came up to the register to buy a small antique table and two chairs.

"I love it here," she commented looking over a vast collection of antique furniture, art, dishes and crystal. "Everything here has soul."

There was a time not too long ago when young people weren't interested in furnishing their apartments with antiques, but both Tim and Carrie agreed that that has changed and that some of their most loyal and passionate customers are people under the age of 35.

Parents of a 33-year-old son in Seattle and a 26-year-old daughter in Broomfield, they agreed that, in Carrie's words, "Business is good. People don't want to go to Target and other big box stores, especially the young people. There's really been a shift in how people view things. Especially the younger generation. They really do want to have something with soul."

"The times are changing," Carrie added with a smile. "The forty-somethings are not into antiques but the 20 and 30-year-olds have got the right attitude. No Ikea for them. They are lovely people, these customers. They want to know stuff – the story and history of things. We are both really happy to have seen such a change in our demographic. And with more people spending more time at home, Covid has been good for business."

The Wise couple have seen many, many changes over the years – not only in their customers but also in the community of Niwot. "It's a nice time for the businesses," he noted. "Everybody likes each other. They are good people. It has not always been that way."

When they were first married, they said, Tim was repairing antique furniture and Carrie was still working with the park service when the local fire department "red-flagged the building housing the antique store as being in bad shape." The Wise's decided to open a "tiny competing business" as the fire department closed the original store.

Parents of a four-month-old baby at the time, they asked their parents for a loan but paid it off promptly and made a success out of their business.

Carrie started many years ago planting flowers along 2nd Avenue and there have been many challenges along the way, including issues with flooding. "There is always a lot going on in a small business community," said Tim.

"But integrity" said Tim with a wise smile. "That's how you grow your business."

 

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