In just three short months, Carla Sallee has seen a dream come true with the opening of Silver Lining Antiques.
"It came so quick," she said. "I was just hanging on as God drove the car."
Mrs. Sallee, 55, grew up in California and moved to Tyler in 1983. She sold jewelry for more than 20 years. For the past six years, she worked as an event coordinator for The Potpourri House, but she and her best friend, Deborah Benson, had been daydreaming about starting a business together to sell antiques.
Mrs. Sallee said she has collected antiques for about 10 years to decorate her home. At the end of January, she began looking into renting a small space in an antique mall, but they all had a waiting list, she said.
"In two short weeks, the Lord brought me here (Bergfeld Center) to open a 4,700-square-foot space with a four-year lease," she said. "It was definitely a walk of faith."
Mrs. Sallee said she learned of vendors who were being displaced when Tyler Antiques in downtown Tyler closed last year. Five of those dealers relocated to Silver Lining Antiques, she said.
"This has come about in three short months," she said of the business.
Mrs. Sallee and nine other antique dealers make up a "collection of fine shops" in one space that for years housed Joyner-Fry. She said she did not want the shop to look like a mall, so even though the 10 antique dealers each have their own space, there are no separating walls so it feels like a "fine antique store."
Silver Lining has antiques from the early 1600s to the Art Deco era, Mrs. Sallee said, adding that the fine furniture and collectibles come from around the world.
Mrs. Sallee is preparing to go to California on a buying trip for the store and said several others travel to Europe to find pieces to sell.
She said because there are 10 vendors, "every day we are bringing in new items. … We are very diligent and try to find things for good prices."
She said women starting a family on a budget can find antiques to decorate their homes. They carry items that sell for more than $1,000, but also have things for less than $100, she said.
"We all like different things … so this way when customers come in, we have something for everybody," Mrs. Sallee said.
The majority of the items are European antiques, which are less expensive and easier to find than American antiques, she said. They have 400-year-old antiques that will last for another 400 years and are much less expensive than new pieces of the same type of furniture, she added.
Mrs. Sallee said she and her husband of 25 years are history buffs and "antiques and history go hand in hand. … This is tangible history that you can touch."
But she admitted she has no background in antiques. "I'm blessed to have these antique dealers here," she said. "They are a wealth of knowledge."
The dealers come from all over East Texas.
Walking through the store, Mrs. Sallee pointed out antiques sold by LaRue Cooper, of Canton; Sally Martin, of Jacksonville; and Ronny Davis, of Holly Lake, who offers very affordable items, including several pieces from Scotland.
She said Renna Embry and Kelly Murph carry "jazzy chic" merchandise for people in their 30s and 40s, while Mrs. Sallee said she offers "jazzy chic" items for those in their 50s and 60s.
Jackie Mayzsak handmakes sculpted fairy scenes, using real butterfly wings. She also sells antique dolls and Stieff bears out of her Enchanted Creations business.
And if a customer is looking for a specific piece they don't have, all 10 dealers will search for it, she said.
Silver Lining opened May 1 and held a grand opening celebration June 1.
Mrs. Sallee manages the shop while the dealers take turns working on different days. She said she also hopes to hire part-time employees.
She said they will soon have a small cafe in the front corner of the store and serve goodies such as salads, sandwiches and cupcakes. The business also has a small space that can seat 20 people and be rented out for meetings, showers or other events, Mrs. Sallee said, adding that the parties can bring in food or have it catered.
"I'm just blown away by the response," she said of the new business. "Everyone has been so kind."