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Two local antique shops highlighted among state’s best

March 30, 2017 GMT

Two local businesses were recently included among “The 10 Best Antique Stores in Idaho!”

The article published on the AmericanTowns Media’s Best of Idaho website highlights both Black Rail Antiques in Pocatello (9) and The Country Store Boutique in Idaho Falls (10).

“I was really surprised. I felt honored by it,” Guy Controneo, owner of Black Rail Antiques, said about making the list. “It was pretty cool.”

The Best of Idaho article describes Black Rail Antiques as atypical.

“Passionate about their collection, these pickers travel far to bring you quite possibly the most unique selection of retro and vintage items in all of Idaho,” the article states. “Pieces ranging from Western to European are rich for discovery at this location, with something truly fitting for every taste in the family.”

Controneo says he has several vendors — Roger Frey, Jerry Craven, Clifford McFadden, Michelle Nickerson, Gary and Marlys McCurdy, Jeremy Branson and Don Dellos — who have helped to make the business successful. He calls them true antique hunters.

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“They like old stuff and good, quality items,” he said.

Controneo opened Black Rail Antiques at 312 W. Center St. in Pocatello about two and a half years ago, although he’s dabbled in the business for many years.

Controneo, who minored in history in college, says he loves learning the stories behind the antiques and about the time periods in which they were created. He also appreciates the craftsmanship.

“It was really cool stuff they built and (they took) pride in everything,” he said, adding that even utilitarian pieces like small boxes, old water heaters and stoves were well done.

Controneo’s store sells a variety of items — everything from rusty pieces that can be used for yard décor to desks and other furniture worth thousands of dollars — and they come from many time periods.

“We have a wide selection of things for everybody. It’s not all high-end and expensive stuff,” Controneo said.

People come from as far as Utah and Montana to shop at the store where, Controneo noted, things are priced to sell.

He encourages other people to come and visit his store in the future, and check out the other nearby restaurants and businesses in downtown Pocatello while they’re there.

“It’s a good place to spend an afternoon,” he said.

While Black Rail Antiques is still relatively new, The Country Store Boutique, a family business at 4523 E. Ririe Highway in Idaho Falls, has been around for 44 years.

“Composed of several buildings, this neat find is chockfull of vintage furniture, making it the perfect place to scout out your cabin décor,” according to the Best of Idaho article. “With several rooms, levels and items to choose from, I bet you can’t spend less than a couple hours sifting through this find!”

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The store is owned by Eric and Melanie Seneff and is housed in a former one-room schoolhouse, as well as a barn that was relocated to the site and then connected to the school. Both were constructed in the late 1800s, Melanie said, adding that they’ve created a basement below the buildings to make even more room.

The antique shop is unique in that the Seneffs do all of their own purchasing and restoration work.

“It’s just the two of us,” Melanie said, although she noted that the shop also has a resident cat, Gandalf, who draws his share of attention from customers.

The Country Store Boutique offers restored American furniture from the mid-1700s to the early 1900s, as well as jewelry, dolls and other collectibles. It also sells some newer home decor, including iron trellises, gazebos and other items that compliment the antiques, Melanie said.

She notes that young couples sometimes visit the shop to buy furniture because they can purchase pieces there at a fraction of the cost of new ones. People also bring in antiques that they’ve inherited.

“We do restoration for other people,” Melanie said.

New items are placed in the store nearly every day, Melanie said. She encourages people to stop by to see the wide range of products and look at the historical buildings.

“(Come even if it’s) just to see this unique piece of Idaho history. There are not a lot of one-room school houses anymore,” Melanie said, adding that the windows and brick are all original to the structure.

To read about the other antique stores highlighted in the Best of Idaho article, visit bestthingsid.com/antique-stores.