Shop is Schmidts’ dream come true for

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2012

I’ve never been one to love shopping for shoes or pocketbooks, but I do love buying furniture. Not the expensive stuff, just odd pieces to fill an empty corner or two. When I saw there was a new antique store in Spencer, it didn’t take long for me to check it out.

B&P Antiques is located in Spencer on Salisbury Avenue in the same building that for many years was known as Lomax Hardware. The first time or two I stopped to browse at the antique store, I saw several things very reasonably priced I liked. Knowing I didn’t have a place for them, I left empty-handed. The owners, Bob and Pat Schmidt understood and said maybe I would find something the next time.

Sure enough, the third time I went into the store, jackpot. I found a small table and two chairs that were just right for a spot in front of my living room window. I can now sit and write at the table sipping on a glass of iced-tea, taking occasional glances out the window at the birds feeding from the bird feeder.

I have enjoyed my visits to the antique store not only because of the variety of things to choose from, but also because Bob, Pat and their dog, Rascal, always have a friendly greeting. Rascal, a mixed poodle, often gets up from his resting place to meet new customers at the door. He’s not only a friendly dog, but cute. One day while petting him I said I wouldn’t mind taking Rascal home with me. Bob in his quiet manner, said, “That dog saved my life.” Looking up surprised, that’s when I heard the rest of the story.

One night when Bob and Rascal were out walking, Rascal suddenly stopped and wouldn’t take another step. Bob couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so he kept on walking. When Bob took the next step, Rascal jumped in between him and a copperhead, taking the snake bite across his right eye. Picking up the dog, Bob ran two blocks to his car. Rascal was hospitalized for 10 days, with it taking another couple of weeks for him to fully recover.

If that wasn’t an amazing story in itself, Bob had more to tell. He said over the course of his life, he has had eight brain surgeries. Even though the tumors are benign, they keep coming back. The day the copperhead bit Rascal was the same day Bob came home from his last surgery. Although fine at the time, within six months he lost his voice and began losing his mobility. These things happened after the last surgery because the shunt backed up and also because the tumor had been on his cerebellum.

Even though Bob can walk, he often uses a scooter to get around because he loses his balance easily. I asked if he feels OK, and he said, “I feel fine.”

Before moving to North Carolina in 1995 to be near his two adult sons, Bob lived in Pittsburgh, Pa. Having collected antiques since he was 18, Bob always dreamed of opening a store one day. That one day happened last year after he married Pat Griffin.

While they were dating, Bob lived in Thomasville and Pat lived in China Grove. During that three-year period, Bob came to like this area so much, after the wedding, it seemed natural he would be the one to move. Last year, happily married and living in China Grove, Bob knew the time was right to follow his dream. With Pat’s encouragement, he began looking for the right place for a store. Happy that he chose Spencer, Bob is excited about the possibilities.

If you want to do your part not only to welcome a relatively new business, but to support the local economy, the next time you drive through Spencer, don’t just slow down, stop and shop. Hopefully, business will be so good this holiday season in this historic town, it will mean a little more under the Christmas tree for everyone. Maybe even Santa will find a few more cookies to eat.

Dicy McCullough’s books are available at local bookstores, and Barnes & Noble. Call her at 704-278-4377.