New "Antiques General Store" Opens in Latonia
A new store has opened at the Promenade Palace building in Latonia's Ritte's Corner.
Half & Half Antiques is unlike no other store in the area, its owners say. The 6500-sq. ft. shop features desirable items in a wide range of prices - with dressers running from $50 to $500 and dining room sets from $110 to $1,200.
Randy Kelly, one of the shop's co-owners, was introduced to antiques by his father, Harold Kelly, who often let his son tag along when he went antiquing.
“Growing up I was always surrounded by antiques, collectables, and all types of oddities. As far back as I can remember no matter what we did the family always included some antique hunting and picking,” Kelly said.
During his youth the family would go camping in London Kentucky on the weekends through the summer and they always ran out hitting local yard sales and flea markets looking for long lost primitives and antiques. Kelly remembers how many times his mom would just shake her head and wonder how they were going to fit the camping supplies back in the car after a good afternoon of picking.
But Randy’s dad, he said, was teaching a valuable life lesson: Antiques are not just things; they tell stories and have memories of times and people that may otherwise be lost and forgotten.
Kelly's dad converted the family's basement into a small antique shop and two years later, dad quit his job as chief chemist at French Bauer and opened a larger store in Burlington. In the summers, Randy Kelly spent most of the week learning to properly clean, restore, and repair the inventory.
“I hated it at the time but now I can see treasures when most others see damaged trash,” Kelly stated.
Kelly finished high school, spent time in the Army, and graduated from college with an engineering degree and worked in the communications field until 2010. Then he made a change.
“I was just tired of all the politics and games played in the corporate world," he said. "In 2010, I decided to redirect my life and find something new to do,” Randy said.
Unsure of what to do next, he was back in college.
“One day I was driving down the street and there was an auction going on and I decided to stop. I bought a few items that day and a few days later I sold them online and realized that I can make a few extra dollars when I’m not in class.”
“I would buy the gems disguised as junk to most people and was doing pretty good. One day I was called up by an auctioneer who was an old friend of my father's and told about an opportunity to buy an entire estate that was too small for an auction. Two days later I was renting storage units to hold the inventory from the estate. It was at this point that I realized that I was in business for myself buying and selling.”
Within two years he rented a 2500-sq. ft. warehouse in Covington and was buying estates and large lots of goods weekly. Focused on antiques and collectables, he began building a unique inventory of treasures. In 2014 he opened a small storefront in Covington but without the space for the larger pieces of furniture he was still selling the quality antiques online and directly from the warehouse.
This year there was an opportunity to make a big move and open Half & Half Antiques General Store.
Acquiring the vast showroom offered a large, open atmosphere with plenty of space to display furniture, china, and all the home décor items Randy had collected over the years.
“Looking back I really hated spending so much of my summers working around antiques but today that knowledge is priceless to me," he said. "With the millions of categories of antiques and collectables I will be the first to admit my knowledge is limited but if my dad taught me one thing it was how to recognize quality workmanship and I try to bring those quality items to my customers.”
Half & Half is located at 3630 Decoursey Avenue in Latonia. It is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The store is closed on Monday.