Faces of Kingston: Suzanne Schreter

Suzanne Schreter (photo by Morgan Y. Evans)

On The Hill Antiques is a lovely antique center at 41 Broadway in the heart of Kingston’s historic waterfront. Owner Suzanne Schreter has been a fixture of Hudson Valley’s antique community for more than three decades. She took the time from a busy day to show me around one of the most fun shops in the area and to tell me a bit about her experiences running her well-regarded store.

Morgan Y. Evans: Thanks for your time today. When did you take this store over?

Suzanne Schreter: Thank you. This Skilly Pot building, on the corner of Abeel Street, is a well recognized landmark. It has housed an antique shop since 1983 and I took it over 13 years ago. Interestingly enough, it was the original home of the Maritime Museum before it moved a few blocks away.

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My parents always loved this place. I was glad to see it was still here. How’d you get into antiques?

I started out of need, over 30 years ago, because my husband and I were casualties of the IBM fallout. I realized I had a knack for selling things so I just kept going. I was in Wallkill years ago and then in Highland, Stone Ridge and now here.

One thing I always loved about the space is you want to keep browsing. There is a nice, roomy atmosphere and it doesn’t feel like cluttered rooms. There’s a line of sight and a lot to look at.

I like to keep an open floor plan so it’s friendly to kids, moms with strollers and people with handicaps.

So you aren’t one of those antique stores that wants children tethered outside?

No, no. We’re also very dog-friendly. It’s never been my policy to exclude.

Hey, if they can learn manners while shopping here that’s great.

We differentiate ourselves from the average antique shop because we have merchandise here from more than 10 dealers, which translates to enormous diversity. We literally have something for everyone across a very wide price range.

The atmosphere feels warm and the objects have life to them, the way they are presented. You have antique tools, artwork, furniture, kitschy stuff, Americana.

Right. Our Instagram page (onthehillantiques) says it all. We also have clothing — from lacy Victorian to graphic Mod; vintage cameras and obscure foreign currencies. We turn over lots of Kingston memorabilia — we currently have an IBM Selectric typewriter (think Mad Men) from 1982. We’re also known for selling mid-century modern furniture from design stars like Milo Baughman and Vladimir Kagan (they don’t stay on the floor for very long) and then we have a dealer who has thirty years experience dealing with jewelry, amongst many other things. I’m currently into silver cutlery but my taste changes all the time. Long story short, anything collectible. Our customer range is just as broad. We sell to dealers from Hudson, interior designers who weekend locally but primarily live in the city (they can’t believe our prices). We sell to young couples who’ve just moved here from Brooklyn as well as all the tourists who’ve read all the recent articles in Vogue and The New York Times announcing Kingston as the new “in” place to visit — a fact we’ve known for a very long time (laughing).

Half the fun of shopping and picking is looking for a great deal.

Yeah. Our prices are extremely fair which makes people appreciate the value of our higher ticket items. It’s why our customers keep coming back. That, and all the surprises because our inventory changes from day to day. People trust us and we believe in Kingston, so it’s mutual! 

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