Connecticut Antiques Trail Would Connect Dealers With Collectors

HARTFORD, CONN. — Much like campaigns to create wine trails promoting vineyards throughout the wine-producing states, a new effort by Connecticut legislators seeks to employ the same technique in a bid to rev up the economic engine powered by the antiques trade. The legislators said it makes sense to connect more local antiques dealers with collectors in an effort to highlight the state’s numerous antiques shops and auction houses.

Senator Robert J. Kane, Republican of Watertown, championed a smaller effort in 2009, working with the state’s Department of Transportation to erect signs along Interstate 84 alerting drivers to the existence of “The Antiques Capital of Connecticut,” the many antiques shops lining both sides of Route 6 in Woodbury. The idea is to not only provide a shot in the arm to the state’s antiques and auction trade but to also boost businesses that benefit from an antiquer’s pursuit of his or her heart’s desire.

“There are many ancillary businesses which would benefit from this legislation,” said Kane, referring to Senate Bill No. 282 that passed in the Connecticut Senate on May 22 and the Connecticut House of Representatives on June 4. “Restaurants, museums and bed and breakfasts would all see an uptick in business. It’s a chance for residents and visitors to get to know our beautiful state and enjoy its wonderful history and culture. We have so much to be proud of, so why not let the world know?”

Having successfully made it through the legislative process, the bill now heads to the governor’s desk. If he signs it, the bill would take effect on October 1.

The bill establishes a trail to identify and market Connecticut sites where antiques are sold. State economic development officials must identify and include in the trail major antiques dealers, communities with a high concentration of antiques dealers and auction houses with annual sales of more than $1 million. The state would also be tasked with promoting the trail through signs, notices and an Internet website.

—WD

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