Peggy and Leonard Hodgson have been antique lovers for as long as they can remember, and it was this shared interest that ultimately inspired the couple to open their own business.
“Before Leonard and I got married, we thought we would decorate our home with antiques because we liked old things,” Peggy explained. “He was good at finding and repairing things, so we began to hunt around and found all sorts of interesting items that we fixed up and stored at my parents’ home. By the time we were married, we had acquired all of these unique antiques and collectibles.”
While driving around South Pasadena one afternoon during the summer of 1971, the newlyweds came across an available storefront on Mission Street and decided to rent it. Within a few days, Hodgson’s Antiques was open for business and quickly became a mainstay in town, popular among locals and visitors alike. It remained in that spot (which is now Griffins of Kinsale) for many years until the building sold, so the Hodgsons moved into the space next door, where they still are today.
Upon walking through the door, guests will find a large variety of items for men, women and children. There are numerous racks containing sheet music, vintage photos, report cards, newspapers, and magazines, along with postcards, clothing, purses, hats, and jewelry. There are also bookshelves lined with pottery, kitchenware, Tiki collectibles, dolls, toys, and much more.
“We have so much interesting stuff, and we carry a little bit of everything,” Peggy said. “We try to stick with things that we know people are interested in and looking for. We also sell vintage Valentines, some of the first forms of photography such as ambrotypes, as well the occasional odd piece of furniture like trunks, boxes, and tobacco cases.”
And while it may seem overwhelming upon first glance, there is a sense of organization that keeps everything together.
“I arrange everything into groups, like salt shakers in one corner, purses and sheet music in another,” Peggy explained. “That makes it easier to find items because there’s so much stuff in here. We know where everything is and can help our customers find what they’re looking for. I call it ‘organized chaos.’”
All of the items that the Hodgsons sell in their shop are privately purchased from individuals, and in addition to older antiques and vintage pieces, they do carry some new silver jewelry as well. When asked to explain the difference between vintage and antique, Peggy said that everyone’s definition is different, but to her, an antique is something that is over 100 years old, and a vintage piece is something from the early ‘90s and before.
Their store does carry some vintage designer items, and in the past they’ve sold designers like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Peggy pointed out that she only will sell those items when she’s certain that they are authentic, and she always likes to make sure that her price points are reasonable. Items in the store range from fifty cents to a thousand dollars, although most items are under $100.
“You can find something really cool in here for less than $25,” Peggy said. “I have to make sure that my price point makes people want to come back—that’s why we’ve been here so long. Our items are very affordable, and there’s something for everybody. I think our reputation of having fair prices and standing behind what we do means more than anything. If you treat your customers right—don’t misrepresent things, and your prices are fair—one person will tell another and it will just keep growing. Our customer base is what keeps us in business.”
Peggy remains modest when it comes to her accomplishments, but she has appeared in countless magazine and newspaper articles, and appeared twice as an appraiser on Storage Wars, which also filmed scenes in her store. And while she doesn’t like to give names, Peggy has had countless celebrities and set designers come into the shop to purchase items for award shows and television episodes.
“What I love about working in this business is that everything that I touch today is different than the things that I touch tomorrow,” Peggy said. “There’s always something that I haven’t seen before, which keeps things interesting and fun. Many times I’ve thought about retiring, but then I’m reminded why I love doing this so much. As long as I can stand on my own two feet, I’ll keep doing this.”
Hodgson’s Antiques is located at 1005 Mission St. in South Pasadena. It is open Tues., Weds., Fri. and Sat. from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thurs. from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sun. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. For more information, call (626) 799-0229.
Hodgson’s Antiques Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 2.22.19. Support Local Business.