Carole Bear at her new Old Grey Mare location in Soldotna.
The Old Grey Mare may not be "where" she used to be, but she certainly is a lot "more" than she used to be. Carole and Carl Bear have moved their "Old Grey Mare" antique and gift store from its former location near the Soldotna Bridge to a new stable on Warehouse Ave. in Soldotna, where they have more space for their array of collectables. They are now in the same strip mall as Papa Murphy's and just next door to Wells Fargo Bank. Carl and Carole hale originally from Hillsdale, Michigan and retired here on the Kenai Peninsula. Their new store is loaded with antiques and gifts from all over the country and items that they have been collecting, "Me and my wife have been fooling with antiques about all of our life, but we both worked full time so we never had time to open a store, but then we both retired and now here we are buying and selling the things we love," said Carl in a recent interview.
Carole & Carl Bear with Min-pin Sonny at the new Old Grey Mare location off the Sterling Highway in Soldotna.
Carl says that finding antiques and getting them ready for sale is a lot of hard work, but the best part is meeting people, "It's a lot of fun and you meet a lot of good people." Carl and Carole find most of their antiques in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, and Carl is especially fond of the colored glass that he brings up for Ohio, "This is really nice glass and it's still made here in the United States. We have about four different colors and it is really nice," added Bear. Looking around the new shop you'll see a myriad of pictures and furniture made of solid mahogany, "We picked up that solid mahogany drop leaf table from a lady in Ohio who bought it new and she lived to be 107 years old and we know that the table is 80 years old because it was passed down through the family," said Bear.
Buying antique furniture is great value according to Bear because the quality is unequaled and the items retain their value. Carole and Carl have another helper at the Old Grey Mare store and he's in charge of security, it's a miniature Doberman Pincher known as a Min-Pin and his name is Sonny, "Oh he's a lot of company on the road, but he doesn't think he's miniature when he's in the car he's a big boy, that car is his and no one's coming in unwelcome that's for sure," says Carl. To see the Bears and Sonny, stop by the new location of the Old Grey Mare in Soldotna any time during regular business hours Sunday through Friday, or call 262-3772 for more information.
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