This ain’t no museum, y’all. This junk’s for sale!

Catherine and Ed Asger show off some of the antiques they will have for sale at their new Store 34 that opens Aug. 12 in Blair. | Photos: Martha Ladd

BLAIR – As Catherine and Ed Asger approached retirement – him, after 43 years as a sales rep and her, after 25 years teaching – they dreamed of returning to Catherine’s family’s roots in Blair in western Fairfield County and opening an antique shop like the one Catherine’s mom operated there years before.

Store 34, which opens Wednesday, Aug. 12, is appropriately named after its location on State Highway 34 at 18428 Newberry Road in rural Blair. Highway 34 borders the property that’s been in the Blair family for generations.

“Growing up with parents who collected and sold antiques,” Catherine said, “the love of antiques and old stuff is in my blood. When we began to talk about what to do after we retired, we really got serious about running our own little shop.”

She described the store’s inventory as “old, new, vintage and just cool stuff that is hard to classify. We hope it will be a fun place for people to visit and enjoy.”

Until their retirement and recent move to Blair, the couple had lived and worked in the Florence area since they were married 31 years ago. During those years, Catherine said she satisfied her itch for antiquing by operating a booth in an antique mall in Florence.

“I’ve been collecting stuff for a long time,” Catherine said.

Antiquing is a tradition in her family. Catherine’s maternal grandfather, R. M. Blair, ran a country store in ‘downtown’ Blair when she was young. After his death, Catherine’s parents converted the store and renamed it Country Store Antiques, a shop they operated for years.

With their three children grown and on their own and their jobs no longer tying them to Florence, the Asgers decided to move to Blair in western Fairfield County, to live in the home Catherine grew up in. There, they are enjoying the large yard where their wedding reception was held and are following their dream of owning and operating their own small business.

While the Asgers are the shop’s sole proprietors, Catherine is quick to credit her dad, her brother Billy Hendrix and her sister Frances Porter for helping make their dream a reality.

“We truly wouldn’t have this little shop without their help, so it feels more like a family business than just something that is only ours,” Catherine added. “Being able to open our shop while also being with family is such a blessing. We are blessed to be able to take on this adventure!”

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday, beginning Aug. 12. However, the Asgers encourage shoppers to visit their Facebook page before driving out to Blair, “in case we take off junkin’ to add to our inventory.”  

Bill Hendrix, Catherine Asger’s father, stands next to a vintage cash register in Store 34.