Story and Photos by Emily G. Peters
“Being an antique dealer is like a continuous treasure hunt,” said Bill Taylor, owner of Monrovia’s magnificent Kaleidoscope Antiques. “The antique business changes as styles change—but there always is a demand.”
Taylor should know. The brainchild of his late wife Linda Taylor and her business partner C.J. Granados, Kaleidoscope Antiques has been his family business since 1986. But the seeds were planted long before that.
“Linda initially developed an interest in antiques we moved from California to Iowa. She discovered farm, estate and garage sales of those selling their farm things as they retired from farming,” recalled Bill. “They had a lot of furniture made in Iowa from local trees in the early 1900s. She fell in love and began collecting.”
Now that Midwestern charm belongs to Monrovia—and passing an entire afternoon at Kaleidoscope is not difficult. Treasures hang from the ceiling and litter the booths with curios, glassware, furniture, art, apparel, jewelry and more. The two-story shop demands a spherical shopping approach: looking around, beneath, above and behind the best technique to uncover a hidden gem.
Though plenty of shoppers may prefer the newest furniture and contraptions for their home, antiquing has its benefits. For furniture in particular, Taylor considers antiques to boast a triple threat of quality, style and price.
“Antique furniture offers significant advantages over new furniture. It’s durable; made of maple, oak, pine and birch instead of manufactured materials such as particle board,” he said. “Antique furniture may also exhibit what we in the antique business call the ‘patina of age,’ adding value and charm to these old treasures. Each piece is unique. And it’s normally less expensive than new furniture.”
For those seeking the ultimate bang for their buck, Kaleidoscope Antique’s anniversary sale is right around the corner. Always held the first weekend in August to celebrate their advent to Monrovia, this year’s sale on August 5–6 offers a 20 percent discount to local treasure seekers. And for those people who are impossible to shop for, Kaleidoscope’s upcoming December sale provides a welcome alternative to holiday gift-givers on the hunt for something new.
On the whole, Taylor credits Kaleidoscope Antiques’ longevity to Monrovia itself. Here he’s found a rich customer base, serving longtime collectors as well as homeowners seeking to capture the vintage style of Monrovia’s many historic homes. Taylor and his dealers seek to strike a balance between the tastes of longtime collectors and shifting trends.
“We’re always searching for specific items for our collector friends and adapting to changing needs as fashions change,” he said. “Thanks to our customers, Kaleidoscope Antiques is successful and it appears it will be so for years to come.”
Kaleidoscope Antiques is located at 306 S. Myrtle Ave. in Monrovia. Contact them at www.kaleidoscopeantiques.org | (626) 303-4042 and be sure to stop by for their anniversary sale on August 5–6, 2017.