Couple's antiques business thrives

Not too many businesses have multiplied their space by 10 over the past couple of years.

Juliana Daniel Antiques seems to have managed it successfully by combining the respective talents of wife-and-husband team Juliana and Danny Greenberg.

"It's fun," Danny Greenberg said, using a word that crops up frequently in the couple's conversation. "There's an energy that Juliana and I bring to the business."

"It's not a job," she insists.

The store moved to its current location at 3224 E. Douglas in 2007, which is when Beauty First — the company Danny Greenberg worked for — sold. He decided to join his wife in the antiques business, which she had been operating out of a 500-square-foot space at Douglas and Green.

Danny Greenberg's role is "operations" — mainly handling financial matters — while his wife is the creative force behind the store, handling the buying, selling and displaying of antiques.

The latter talent is evident everywhere in the store, which has about 5,000 square feet of space on two floors. The building is a house built in the early 1900s, to which a furniture store was added on in the 1950s.

Juliana Greenberg's displays of merchandise practically qualify as works of art themselves. Here's a silver cake stand topped by a seashell-rimmed mirror that's topped in turn by a larger shell serving as a spoon holder.

Over there's an ironstone washbowl, filled with leaf-shaped curtain ties, sitting on a maple dresser.

"I love to mix periods," Juliana Greenberg said. "Maybe take abstract art and mix it with Victorian. It just gives everything a fresher look."

She got her start in the antiques business in California — she once sold some decorative tile to Steven Spielberg's interior designer; it wound up in an Architectural Digest photo spread — where the couple lived for 20 years. She says she prefers "decorative" to useful items, but the store has plenty of both.

There's a room devoted to mid-20th century pieces — lamps, glass ashtrays and other "stuff your parents had in the '50s," Juliana Greenberg said — and another to linens. Old books are big sellers, as are vintage clothes among younger customers.

A popular use for bigger items is "repurposing" them, whether it's a china cabinet turned into a bookshelf or iron gates use for headboards. The store sells a small amount of furniture on consignment.

If Danny Greenberg does have a domain, it's what he calls "the infamous man room" upstairs. "Famous man room," Juliana Greenberg corrects her husband of 30 years. It's filled with old baseball mitts, martini shakers, a stuffed badger's head.

"We like to carry really oddball things up here," Juliana Greenberg said.

The Greenbergs get most of their inventory from Wichita, the Midwest and other antiques dealers. Even the other dealers occasionally have bargains, Juliana Greenberg said.

"There is so much out there, you can't know the value of everything," she said. "There's still the element of the treasure hunt."

Although they moved to Kansas only a decade ago, the couple seem to enjoy the local culture and history, discussing with equal enthusiasm a coin toss board from a western Kansas church and lamps obtained from a well-known Wichita decorator.

In the store, the Greenbergs brew vanilla-flavored coffee for customers, and Juliana Greenberg has been known to throw in a couple of bags of M&Ms with purchases for customers with kids.

One of those customers in the store this week, Celeste Woodlief of Sedgwick, said she shops there "more than my husband would like" because the merchandise is reasonably priced and in good shape, and because Juliana Greenberg "has fantastic taste."

Juliana Greenberg says the same about her customers.

"They are people who want their homes to be different, to have character," she said.