Bruce and Meg Cummings started dabbling in the antique business while attending the University of Massachusetts in 1971. They mostly dealt in small items that they could carry to various weekend antique shows and flea markets. They enjoyed doing the famous Brimfield antique market that was emerging as one of the foremost large shows in the country and this triennial event provided a major outlet for their antiques. They completed their degrees at the university and opened their first shop in 1975 as a group shop.
The Cummings collaborated with three other parties in opening a cooperative storefront on Route 9 in Hadley under the name Joint Venture Antiques. With this new space and constant exposure, Bruce and Meg were able to start dealing in their main love – oak and Victorian furniture. Eventually, the other three partners went their separate ways and the Cummings took over Joint Venture Antiques on their own in 1978 – the business flourished.
In 1981 the operation was moved to 172 College Highway in Southampton, MA. The move was generated by the wish to have an at home business with their young children. The original property included a house and two charming old cider mill barns. The name of the shop was changed to Southampton Antiques, the two barns were renovated, and a new two story larger building was constructed between the other two. Over the years, the inventory at Southampton Antiques has steadily grown in quality as well as quantity. A steady search for productive “pickers” has yielded a great network of resources to provide a constantly changing inventory. The Cummings travel from Maine to Pennsylvania in search of the finest period pieces in excellent original or restorable condition.
With the advent of the technological age, Bruce and Meg realized the great potential for the computer and the internet to market the rare and unique pieces that they specialize in. In 1996 they built a state of the art photography – computer studio on the end of the main. Several years later a workshop was constructed where each item can be polished and small repairs done. When buying pieces, Bruce and Meg very carefully choose only the most desirable pieces in good original finish and condition.
In 2011 they decided that, after 40 years in the business, it was time to scale back the operation. They purchased a home in Saratoga, NY where Bruce will continue the business with a much smaller and more select inventory. Meg has decided to offer her services as a volunteer. The warehouse will continue to be an internet shop. Appointments to see the merchandise in person can be made by phone or email.