Sunday, January 20th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


Antique treasure trove returns to Great Bridge

by Candance Moore

Rachel, Martha and Danielle Burns surrounded by <BR>vinyl records, vintage cameras, maps, furniture and more

Rachel, Martha and Danielle Burns surrounded by
vinyl records, vintage cameras, maps, furniture and more

Bob and Martha Burns are back in Great Bridge! After a well-deserved temporary retirement, they’ve regained ownership of his wildly popular antique and estate store, which is now open at a new location on South Battlefield at Millwood Plaza.

Second Sale Consignments and Estate Liquidations has been a local landmark since Bob opened the first store in 2011. The shop specializes in well-kept antiques, vintage family heirlooms, one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, and estate liquidations. Consignments are always welcome, and they will also buy furniture, including pieces from estate, downsizing and moving sales. Thanks to Bob’s stellar reputation in the community, he often gets called first when people want to sell gently used furniture, home decor, gold and silver.

As a naturally friendly people person with an eye for great pieces, he’s spent years helping thousands of his neighbors fill their homes with quality furniture and décor. So it’s no surprise that retirement couldn’t keep him away for long.

“He lasted about 10 months,” Bob’s wife Martha says with a smile. “Then he started telling us he missed his store. This business is in his blood, and I don’t think it will ever stop being a part of him.”

This has, after all, been his lifetime passion. Young Bob, newly married to Martha in the 1970s, first opened an antique shop called Woodn Things in Norfolk. It was an original part of the city development project to make Ghent the retail powerhouse it is today.

Bob started out modestly with an inventory of wooden antiques. He enjoyed everything about the process, from finding great pieces to negotiating deals to befriending his customers. It was a bustling time of optimism in Norfolk, and Bob made the most of it. Before long, he found himself running a profitable enterprise.

Yet this financial success didn’t mean much to him without a family to share it with. After getting the business on solid footing, Bob sold it, and he and Martha returned home to Knotts Island to raise children.

Two daughters, Danielle and Rachel, came along shortly after. They made a happy, loving home in Knotts Island. That area didn’t need another antique shop, so Bob busied himself with new home construction.

Some 30 years passed while Bob and Martha gave their daughters a wonderful countryside childhood. Although he sometimes missed his old career, Bob proved himself quite skilled in his new one. He worked enthusiastically, no matter the task, to provide for his family.

Then in 2007, an economic challenge - or perhaps a blessing in disguise - disrupted his construction career. The real estate collapse left him holding the bag on a few unsold houses. He recognized it was time for a change.

Bob Burns has emerged from retirement

Bob Burns has emerged from retirement

“I actually think he was kind of relieved,” Martha recalls. “He never loved construction as much as antiques.”

Danielle and Rachel had begun moving on with their lives by then. Bob told Martha he wanted to return to his first love. Anxious to see him bounce back after the real estate disaster, Martha encouraged him to follow his heart.

They chose Great Bridge for its family-oriented community feel. Second Sale opened its original doors in the old shopping center adjacent to the bridge. Bob was the face of the store in every way, whether sourcing new inventory, running the sales floor, or delivering furniture. This interaction helped him regain his spark of happiness.

His neighborly business philosophy was a perfect match for Great Bridge, and dozens of customers became fast friends. People started making regular visits just to chat with him. Sales poured in.

“Bob is back in Great Bridge
doing what he loves!
He sees a lot of familiar faces,
but he’s also attracting
the next generation of antique lovers.
We’re very excited for Second Sale to have a second life!”

—Martha Burns

“We had a goal to earn a certain amount of revenue in the first year. Our expectations were somewhat low. Then we surpassed that goal within months, and I realized that Bob was really on to something,” Martha describes. “It was incredible, and also very humbling.”

Antique and vintage merchandise flew off the shelves barely before Bob had a chance to process it. He moved into estate sales just to keep up with demand. Martha and the girls had to help on weekends when the sales floor became overwhelming.

Just as Second Sale found its stride, that shopping center was sold and scheduled to be demolished. Bob hurriedly transferred to a location in Greenbrier, but things just weren’t the same. In early 2017, after a career of more than 40 years, Bob sold the shop, looking forward to a restful retirement on Knotts Island.

Ten months later, he admitted that he couldn’t stay away. He acquired his beloved business, returned to Great Bridge, and immediately began connecting with regular customers.

The current location is in Millwood Plaza, directly across the street from Dominion Power on South Battlefield. As word quickly spread among friends and family, customers knocked on the door while Bob was moving in. He had to put a cash register on a makeshift counter so he could do sales during setup. The store officially opened February 1.

“We didn’t need a party or even much of a formal announcement,” Martha remarks. “People seemed to know we were in business before we did!”

The shop features a broad range of eras and styles. Trendy midcentury modern furniture makes for great window shopping that lures in passersby. More conventional Victorian pieces, some very cool art deco finds, and a handful of uniquely expressive lamps delight the senses. There’s even a beautifully maintained rapier sword stashed behind the counter. Only upscale, well cared for items make the cut, so that browsers can immediately envision additions to their home.

Prices are set surprisingly low to promote fast turnaround. When customers find a piece they like, they’re encouraged to snatch it up before it’s gone. Delivery on large furniture is available across Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks. Martha can be found helping out more these days, but Bob is still the engine that runs the operation.

“Bob is back in Great Bridge doing what he loves!” Martha exclaims. “He sees a lot of familiar faces, but he’s also attracting the next generation of antique lovers. We’re very excited for Second Sale to have a second life!”

Second Sale Consignments & Estate Liquidations

800 S. Battlefield Boulevard
Chesapeake, VA 23322