Past to Present Collectables Brightens Downtown Niantic

Integrity of downtown gem stays true to value of customer experience

FIONA SAMUELSON

Quintessential Mom-and-Pop shop Past to Present Collectibles provides a relaxed atmosphere and unbeatable prices for treasure hunting.

“Right now records are really hot, so high schoolers that come in are all over the vinyl and record players,” employee of three years and lifelong customer Robert Graham said.

The extensive record collection and dollar room attract customers of all ages.

Past-To-Present’s room of records and CDs.

“I’ve found some of my favorite gifts and older vinyls there. I love going in because it’s very relaxing,” sophomore Elise Fiore said.

Each wall of this eccentric store overflows with the past lives of antiques. Eye-catching items and pieces of furniture loosely organize the shop into endless winding rooms.

“My passion for antiques came from growing up in my grandmother’s gift shop, buying and trading baseball cards. I ended up taking the business over when I graduated high school and it has evolved into what we have here today,” owner of over 10 years Josh Haderski said.

Falling in love with the store is inevitable; most visitors become returning customers.

“Once you find the store you become addicted because it’s so unique,” Mr. Graham said.

Products are moved and sold regularly, so the store never has the chance to become stale to visitors.

Each experience at Past to Present is designed to balance the feeling of walking into a new store with the comfort of seeing familiar faces behind the counter.

“We bend over backwards to make it a comfortable, genuine place. We just want guests to have fun and get excited to find treasures,” Mr. Graham said.

The store’s efficient team and low prices keep turnover rates high, while the effort put into customer experience keeps guests coming back.

“First and foremost are our locals and regulars that come in sometimes multiple times a week. Truly, without them, we wouldn’t have a business,” Mr. Haderski said.

Locals go out of their way to support the team at Past to Present because they trust they’ll have a positive experience.

“Mr. Haderski is respected as a businessman in Niantic- people call him on a daily basis whether they’re moving or just looking to get rid of things, and Josh will purchase items for the store to sell,” Mr. Graham said.

The team at Past to Present puts great effort into preserving their stock so each item can become another person’s treasure.

“Josh is not ignorant by any means about the value of things that come in, but he has realistic prices for the benefit of the customer. I myself paid $10 for a fireplace guard that was appraised for $28,000,” Mr. Graham said.

“We offer a place for people to step back and reminisce,” Mr. Haderski said. Past to Present’s second location, Past to Present on the Corner, is another local gathering place specializing in finer high quality items like Victorian furniture.

“My favorite time to run the business is the holiday season when the Silver Skate store opens,” Mr. Haderski said. The store transforms into the classic Christmas shop the corner itself was and is still recognized as from the 60s.

“Josh isn’t out to become a millionaire overnight, he invests in the experience of every guest that walks through the front door,” Mr. Graham said.

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