Out With the Old, In With the New

It's moving day for antique dealers. Occupants of The Antique Market are attempting to either sale or move hundreds of belongings. They've been told by their landlord to be out by the end of the month. Room must be made for a new tenant.

Booth space for collectibles from the past will soon be replaced with high tech equipment for a high tech world. E-Tech, an employer of about one thousand is wasting no time measuring for a new training center. Just the sort of thing antique dealers moving out didn't want to see. Vendor Sandra Ward said, "For them to come in and take one of the oldest buildings and remodel it to be something, a training center as opposed to trying to keep our heritage. We're destroying old town Nacogdoches."

The building owners insist that the old Woodmen Of The World building will be preserved.   Co-owner Bill Taylor said, "We spent more than $100,000 upgrading the building when we bought it.   A city grant was also used for preservation costs. Their opinion is the new tenants will bring new business to town. "It's really going to help the downtown more than the antique stores because they're gonna bring 50-60 people in the area everyday and the downtown merchants and that's what we need," said Taylor.  Agreeing with Taylor is Vincent Tortoriello. The new Orleans transplant has opened a restaurant a couple of doors down. "My opinion is totally selfish with all the employees supposed to be coming in, that will be good for my business. They'll be eating lunch here and my business depends on that."

Chamber president Jim Elder attempts to remain neutral.   "I think we need to respect the rights of the property owners to pay his bills and make a living, but we also need to maintain the integrity of downtown."

There may be sides to take, but everyone can agree the change is an emotional turn in Nacogdoches history. There are even two alley cats affected by the move.  They live under The Antique Market and the vendors have always taken care of them. But they've been told they must go too. Vendors are attempting to find the felines homes. It's just one more thing for vendors to be concerned about.   Manager Carolyn Price said, "It's been tuff. It's been very emotional. A lot of vendors have been crying when they come in and some of them are a little angry. We're just having to work through it."

Attempts are being made to find retail space for the antique vendors. So far no space downtown has been located.