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A Comprehensive History of the Shop in the Woods Spanning 75 Years

Jim Ternay got his start in the business as a buyer for Phil Glick’s antique shop in Clayton, NJ.  Each week, he would be given $50 to go out and buy antiques to bring back to sell. At the time, Clayton was an antique mecca much like Mullica Hill in the 90’s and Woodbury now.

 

Kass married Jim in 1947 and joined him in his rock, mineral and antique buying and selling.  The initially didn’t have a shop, but opened in a “yard sale” style all week long throughout the 1950’s and sold wholesale to dealers.

 

The couple started building a shop on a property in Glassboro on Delsea Drive near present day Liscios.  The original brick building still stands today and houses Joel’s Auto Technology. When Butch was born in 1948, Kass would push his playpen up to the window as a baby so she could keep an eye on him while she worked outside.  Kass would work behind the scenes, stripping and repairing furniture and Jim would be the face of the operation.

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Times got tough as Butch entered the 1st grade and Kass and Jim decided to switch gears from Antiques to provisions.  They closed up the Antique shop and opened a roadside market. Selling vegetables, fruit and fresh seafood, the road market operated for the next 2 years.  Eventually the market started proving to be unprofitable and the couple turned back to their true passion, antiques. The reopening of the antique shop appeared to be welcomed with open arms.  They filled the store with country style items, hutches, plank seat chairs, washstands and other furniture. Jim and Butch frequently traveled to Camden to pick up loads, sometime bringing home 100 chairs in one trip.  Dealers would wait at the shop for their return to get first dibs on the day’s pull and claim their treasures.

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Around 1964, Jim and Kass started the process of expanding up and down the east coast.  Starting in Toms River, New Jersey, the couple opened a rock shop selling minerals, semi-precious stones and other items that the family mined themselves.  The shop, located on Route 37, was run during the week by Kass’s aunt, Ida. On the weekends, Kass and Butch would drive up and work. They continued this for about a year and a half.  The family also opened a shop in Florida for about a year until they packed up and moved everything back to New Jersey to a shop in Beechwood. With the original intent being to sell rocks, minerals and jewelry, they found that their new space was so big that it only made sense to bring up antiques as well.

Jim Ternay Sr
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Tom's River, NJ Location
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Ida working in Tom's River, NJ
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Dunedin, FL Location

Kass learned how to make jewelry through a friend and quickly started producing items for the shop on Delsea Drive and for the House of Color in North Conway, New Hampshire.  Other shops in the area saw what House of Color had and wanted to sell Kass’s jewelry as well. Her popularity spread throughout the area, including the Eastern State Exhibition; a five day event that Jim would drop jewelry off for vendors to sell.  Another notable patron was Arm & Hammer Oxidental Petroleum Company in which Jim and Kass made 74,000 jade keychains for a promotional event for the employees of the company. The jade was supplied through Imperial Jade and produced two to three thousand pieces a week.  While Butch was on spring break at school, the family would travel out to Arizona and New Mexico to mine for stones in the riverbeds or up to New York for Herkimer Diamonds. These stones would be brought back to the shop, tumbled, polished and used to make jewelry.

 

In 1968, Jim suffered a heart attack while driving ambulance.

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“What d’ya think of the Moyer house?” Jim says to Kass.  The Moyers, Clyde and Margaret, built a house on 322, right on the outskirts of Williamstown.  What made this house so appealing was that the Moyers were antique dealers as well, and had a large room in the front of the house that they used as a shop.  Jim made an offer on a Friday and on Monday he was approved. They moved in in 1969. Jim and Butch built a barn in the back to store everything that came from the Delsea Drive shop.  The house had a two car garage with a workshop attached. It was the perfect setup for their operation. They kept the same “yard sale” style by filling the garage with rough furniture and letting customers peruse through.  Dealers from all over would come to get first dibs on loads that Jim and Butch bought. At this time, they were only buying and reselling rough furniture.  

 

When Jim passed away in 1972, Butch picked up right where his father left off.  Consistent customer base kept them afloat. Kass continued to make jewelry and it was business as usual until 1984.  They expanded their bulk stone sales to the Jersey shore. Supplying Marvin Hume’s rock shop at Sunset Beach, Cape May Point and a shop across from the Steel Pier on the Atlantic City boardwalk.  After a fire shut them down at Steel Pier, they relocated closer to Bally’s Casino. They also expanded to participating in antique shows, including the Mauricetown Fire Hall Antique Show that still runs today.  Kass also founded the St. Thomas Antique Show at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Glassboro, NJ which ran for 44 years.

Moyer House and Shop in 1969

Another craft that Kass picked up was glassworking.  Taught by family friend, Roy Horner, Kass created glass jewelry and mini paperweights and sold them through Wheaton Village in Millville, NJ. She worked in various positions at Wheaton for 10 years.

 

In the 1980’s, the shops routine started to evolve even more.  Kass’s second husband, Don, worked with Butch to convert the 2 car garage into an enclosed retail shop.  Kass and Butch started to make their way around the auction circuit: working, buying & selling antiques, and making new contacts.  Butch, with a new wife and daughter, went out and got a “more stable” job. Don, being a handyman, would fix furniture during the work week and Butch would come on the weekend and refinish it for sale.

The name “Shop in the Woods” was actually not thought up by anyone in the Ternay family.  A family friend from the old Goode Mattress Factory on 322 would direct patrons to the establishment by telling them “it’s the shop in the woods” as it was the first heavily wooded area down the road from the mattress factory.  Kass liked the reference so much that she turned it into the name.

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Kass and Butch - 1980's

In 1994, Don passed away and with that, production slowed.  After 10 years working full time for a contractor at Coastal Refinery, in Westville, Butch quit and returned to the shop full time in 2004.  The business started to thrive again and it was business as usual for the next 9 years.

 

2013: business is booming.  All of a sudden, the converted 2 car garage seems a little cramped.  Butch, along with family friend Mark, undertook the redesign and renovation of the shop by converting an unused back part of the cabinet shop into more retail space.  A special grand re-opening event took place to celebrate the further growth of the business.

 

In the early morning of October 22, 2015, spontaneous combustion of rags started a fire that would consume the spray booth, cabinet and retail shop completely.  Now, in 2020, we are still working to rebuild and reopen due to various hurdles from insurance issues, contractor scams and even our sign getting hit by a car! It is a slow process but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Fire Damaged Retail Shop - 2015
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New Retail Shop Construction - 2019
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