The Heights Says It's Beating The Recession

Houston's doing better than most of the rest of the country economically -- at least that's the consensus among the local talking heads. Hair Balls visited the Heights' 1st Saturday Sale to see if money was indeed changing hands. Grace Hart, of Grace Hart and Company, an antiques store on W. 19th Street, sat down with Hair Balls and talked shop.

Hair Balls: How are you keeping the cash register ringing in this economy?

Grace Hart: We're going with the flow. If people need to have discounts in order to buy, then they're going to have them and that's all there is to it. All the dealers got together and we decided we're going to give the customer what he wants. I feel Houston's doing real, real well. But (lowers voice) I don't want to tell the world because they all may want to move here and ruin it. (Laughs) I feel we're going to get over the hump faster than the rest of the country.

HB: Have you seen a change to what people are buying?

GH: I haven't seen a slowdown at all, but I have seen that people are buying a lot of little things. The average sale has dropped 30 to 40 percent, but the [end total is the same]. They haven't stopped buying, they're just buying lots of little things. So I have faith in Houston; I think we're going to be okay.

HB: You get some of your merchandise from estate sales and walk-ins, that sort of thing. Have you seen any change in what people are selling?  

GH: we're getting more people selling things than we ever have before. A gentleman came in and sold a very expensive watch to one of our merchants for a very, very good price because they cut his salary in half and he had to liquidate his assets. We know that people are suffering, there's no doubt about that, but I feel we're going to be okay a lot sooner than the rest of the country.

HB: Aren't antiques and jewelry, collectables, considered luxury items? People are going to forgo getting a chair or necklace before they cut back on the essentials, aren't they?

GH: This is like comedy, we have to have it to survive. People want to have a good time. They want to feel good, without having to spend a lot of money and so they're coming here and having a little comedy antiquing.

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