ROGERS PARK — Ray Williams, a dealer of furniture bought from estate sales, opened his first store this month.
Williams, 46, travels from sale to sale, scouting for the perfect, and not-so-perfect, furniture to fix up and sell.
Before he sold the stuff from his back yard, garage and apartment in Edgewater. But now he's set up his business, Vintique Discoveries, at 6417 N. Ravenswood Ave., an old construction company's office.
Before that, says building owner Chuck Erickson, the building was occupied by Fidelitone, a company that manufactured diamond-tipped phonograph needles for record players.
Now Williams has a portion of the building's bottom floor, neighboring two auto shops, filled with antiques.
"I just like the vintage look," he said, remembering the type of furniture his grandmother kept around the house. "That's what people are missing. The new stuff don't have any feeling to it."
Williams said he still sells most of his merchandise through his website and Craigslist, but hopes to bring in business from bustling Devon Avenue just around the corner after he sets up a sidewalk sign with his mascot, a wooden statue named Fred, attached.
"Everyone says he looks like me," Williams said.