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Occoquan Antiques to Close in October; Sales Ongoing

After 10 years in Occoquan, the store will close Oct. 31.

After 10 years in Occoquan, announced last week that the store would be closing Oct. 31.

"We're not going out of business because things are not good," manager Gudi Bignotti said.

Instead, the owner has decided to move his business to Pennsylvania.

For Bignotti, the owner's decision was bittersweet.

"I have lots of friends and acquaintances in town. I'm going to miss them," she said. "I've poured my heart and soul into this but at the same time, I'm at an age where I can easily retire."

Bignotti remembers a time when customer lines would stretch around the block on the days when a truck full of antiques arrived from Pennsylvania.

"I remember the good old times," she said.

Bignotti first got into antiquing when she visited Sloans Antique Gallery as a customer over ten years ago. Sloans Antique Gallery stood next to the current Occoquan Antiques. The manager offered her part-time work.

At first Bignotti refused. "I just retired," she told her.

But then she began working one or two days a week. Eventually she became the manager. When the supplier of Sloans Antiques wanted to start his own antiques store, Bignotti became the manager of the new Occoquan Antiques.

As an interior designer, Bignotti handles the placement and arrangement of all furniture and other items in the store. She has since decorated her own home in the Four Seasons retirement community in the same style.

"Decorating - it's not something you learn," she said. "It's a talent."

Originally from Germany, Bignotti developed her taste for decorating while working with Wedgwood China out of England. She then ran a Wedgwood China shop at a military base in Germany.

After 10 years with Wedgwood, she spent 20 years working with Elizabeth Arden. During that time, she moved to Montclair and worked at the Quantico Marine Corps Exchange.

"But I've always loved antiques," Bignotti said. "In England and Germany, I always went to auctions. It was my second love.
 
Bignotti hopes that customers will take advantage of the sales. Currently, everything not already reduced is selling at 20 percent off of the listed price.

"I don't want to brag on myself, but people need to know they're losing a great store," she said.

Stephanie Dupal-Demartin August 12, 2011 at 10:07 PM
Thanks for the great article! I'll be visiting the store soon...

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