Former Ernesto’s building sold to antiques dealer

by nathan oster

Gary and Becky Anderson have purchased the former Ernesto’s building and will soon be opening a new business in that location, at 1336 N. Sixth St.

“We’re going to make an antique store out of it,” said Gary as he pounded nails and sawed boards Monday afternoon in what was once the kitchen.

“We’d like to take some consignments and rent out some booths,” said Gary.  “I also anticipate having a lot of stuff outside — things like old farm wheels, tractor wheels, old tractors, that sort of thing.”

The store will go by the name Big Horn Antiques and More.

Gary is no stranger to the concept.

Since he and Becky came to this community seven years ago, he has continued to run an antique store in a small town on the Washington coastline, called Wildwood Antiques and Gifts.

“I’m like a picker, in that I like to scrounge, recycle, get things to where they’re usable again,” said Gary.  “Even with something like a rusty old bucket, there’s someone out there who wants it, who would put a plant in it and use it to decorate their house or cabin.”

All totalled, he’s put in around 10 years in the antiques business.

One way he’s been able to do it in Washington has been through the use of vendors, who in exchange for having a place to peddle their collections agree to keep the building open for the public.

Gary said he hopes to find some of those type of entrepreneurs here as well.

As for the Ernesto’s building, it’s been closed about seven years.  Gary said he got a good deal on it.  “I can’t pass up a bargain,” he said.

While he does have some work to do where the kitchen was located, the rest of the interior is in good shape.  “Rustic … just the way it should be for an antique store,” he said.

Gary said he hopes to open the store by the middle to end of May and is excited about the venture.  Gary and Becky — the pastor of Greybull’s First Presbyterian Church and the Shell Community Church — certainly have a lot of irons in the fire.

“I like it that way, though,” he said. “I get itchy feet if I’m not doing something.”

Gary, who is on the Shell Hall Board, said he’s planning a grand opening and hopes the community comes to see what his store has to offer, from glassware and artwork to old utensils and assorted farm items.