New Lemont trading post hopes to take advantage of growing antique craze
What’s in a name? At Bart Barters Trading Post in downtown Lemont, where the name of the game is bartering, everything is.
Owner Kevin Kitching of Alsip is in the business to buy, trade and sell any item that has a strong, liquid market — such as gold, silver, diamonds, antiques and war memorabilia.
“We are a resource for the community and antique stores,” Kitching said. “We are not a pawn store (and we do not) have a pawning license. I am trying to focus more on high-end stuff.”
Stepping inside Bart Barters Trading Post, visitors will notice numerous antique pieces, art pieces, including a sculpture made by Salvador Dali, and war memorabilia, such as an 1856 Remington Navy Issue New Model revolver.
What may be less obvious to window shoppers or those just popping in to check out the new business is that Kitching also promises top dollar in buying gold, silver and diamonds.
“All prices are negotiable, barter is in my name,” Kitching said of his store. “I want to have fun with people. I want people to trust me and know I am not here to rip them off.”
Selling items isn’t a new ideal for Kitching as his passion started early.
He remembered always looking to collect different items that were of interest to collectors and being a conduit for those interested to purchase what he had.
“I have always collected since I was a little kid, then I would sell it at a premium price,” Kitching said. “It was never about collecting than (it was) getting the most for it.”
Since childhood, Kitching has collected and searched for objects of historical, physical or nostalgic value. He began collecting Chicago Bulls basketball cards as a youngster before moving into silver and gold coins. Later, he began collecting fine art and war memorabilia.
While the gold, silver and diamond purchases “pay the rent,” Kitching is really interested in getting different antiques and new items in weekly.
“If there is a liquid market for it, I want it,” he added.
Items Kitching is looking to buy, sell or trade items include old bikes, signs, war memorabilia and old toys.
“The antique industry comes in cycles and I think we are at the end of a long, dead cycle,” Kitching said. “Antiques sparked a lot of new interest in a lot of new collectors. I have a lot of things people collect in here.”
Kitching said he believes the recent influence of television on the antique market has been huge in creating interest again.
“Because of shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars and many more, it’s now seen as treasure hunting for a lotto ticket in the form of an antique,” Kitching said. “That’s the types of antiques I sell, strictly treasure in one form or another.”
Kitching envisions Bart Barters Trading Post as a full service auction house in Lemont.
“I always saw myself working for myself in one facet or another,” Kitching said. “This is the best of what I could imagine.”
Kitching said moving his store into Lemont has been a dream for him and thinks his business will provide a resource not currently available in town.
“I didn’t see any jewelry stores in Lemont and I do think there is a market for it here,” Kitching said.
“A trading post is such an old idea, they were hugely popular around the turn of the century,” he added. “They were the number one form of lending in town.”