VERNON -- As avid antique hunters, Wayne and Celia Nickerson have been known to take long road trips to find hidden treasures.
"We stop and follow leads," Wayne Nickerson said. "We travel very little highway -- a lot of back roads."
The Nickersons are hoping the same kind of strategy -- and the same passion for antiques -- leads customers to their new shop in Vernon.
Saved in the NICK of Time opened Thanksgiving week on Route 142 near Vernon's fire station. Wayne Nickerson said the business, spread over two floors, offers a little something for everyone.
"The way the antique business is, if you specialize, it's risky," he said. "My wife and I, our goal is to make enough to get by but also to make things affordable to people."
The Nickersons, Westminster natives who have been married for more than three decades, try to take twice-annual trips to scout for antiques. And they don't just travel to well-known shops in New England.
"We've gone as far as Florida and over to Louisiana, just looking for stuff," he said. "We just like to talk to people and find out about places."
For Wayne Nickerson, antiquing now has become a second career. He spent 26 years at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant just up the road.
With Yankee now set to close, many are wondering about Vernon's future. But Nickerson isn't worried about the town's long-term prospects.
"I truly believe Vermonters are very resilient. If you look back at the history of Vermont, it has reinvented itself," he said.
In a way, he adds, "that's what my wife and I are doing."
The couple live nearby and have rented their shop space from Larry Shippee at 2907 Fort Bridgman Road.
"It's a very diverse shop. We have things for many different interests," Wayne Nickerson said. "I'd say, for 90 percent of this stuff, I can give a little history."
Last week, he gave a short tour of some of the store, stopping to describe antiques displayed on shelves, on the floor or hung from the ceiling.
-- A "milk sled" used on a Guilford farm.
-- A large, hand-made candelabra.
"I believe it was used in a church or a setting of that type," he said.
-- An old chestnut table, now restored to its natural color. Nickerson said he undertakes restoration projects when needed.
"When I bought this table, it was covered in layers of red paint," he said.
-- An assortment of A&W Root Beer glasses.
-- An Old Crow whiskey bottle with a label proclaiming "medicinal and family use."
-- A reconditioned, two-wheel hand plow.
-- Solid oak skis marked with the name "Western Flyer."
-- Bennington Pottery spittoons.
-- An tall, antique baby carriage.
"That probably goes back to the Victorian era," Nickerson said. "The only thing I'm missing is the big umbrella."
Saved in the NICK of Time is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. While he has done some advertising, Nickerson believes in the power of word-of-mouth promotion.
And he's hoping the new store can fit into a network of regional antique shops.
"In the antique business, we want to have multiple stops, because that draws people in," he said.
"I would encourage people, especially young people, to go into all of the shops in the area," Nickerson said. "They can learn a lot about the history of the area."
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.