Antique and Industrial Finds at Good Goods
The Good StuffDecember 2014
By Jordan Venema
Photos: Kelli Avila
Sandy and Jim Hall admit they set up shop in a less than conventional location. “It’s a destination really, and definitely not a walk-by,” Sandy says with a laugh. “But we knew we would be on a farm. It’s just a great place to live, a great way to live.”
You could say the Halls have taken the road less traveled. Both shirked their formal educations – Jim studied agriculture at Fresno State and Sandy biochemistry at UCLA – to restore and sell antiques. In the early ‘70s they moved from Los Angeles to the Central Valley where they opened their antique store, Good Goods, on a two-acre farm off a quiet country road just outside Visalia.
Like any reputable antique shop, Good Goods is a time capsule, a collection of period pieces, furniture and knick-knacks. But Good Goods isn’t just a collection of antiques; the whole shebang is an antique. The Halls bought and restored local buildings – a two-story Victorian house from Farmersville, a 4,000-square-foot barn from Goshen, a tank house from Exeter, the old Ivanhoe schoolhouse – and had the buildings relocated onto their property. “We just started moving whatever we found that was going to be torn down,” Sandy explains.
But those were times gone by, and now the Halls’ property looks like a period-themed park. To walk through the pink door of the Victorian gingerbread house is to step into a home from another time, furnished eclectically but with purpose. There is the dining room with European doors, a kitchen with antique appliances, a bathroom with a cast iron tub; upstairs, the bedrooms are furnished with steel frame beds and dressers and trunks. Checkered floors run through the first floor, and the faint and nasally voice of a woman sings through a distant speaker. It’s easy to expect a flapper to walk through a bedroom door, or to find around a corner a man in a flat-brimmed hat playing a piano. The spell snaps only when the CD skips a few beats.
Sandy admits she was trying to create a mood, an atmosphere. “Just the time,” she says, “probably 1890 to 1910. That’s the feeling I’d like to create.” Good Goods can seem like a museum, a collection of treasures from another time, except everything is hands-on and ultimately for sale. “We sell antiques, collectibles, gift items and faux flowers,” Sandy says. “But we have really started specializing in industrial furniture.”
Still, while all these goods may be merchandise, they collectively create a certain feel. “What is it?” asks Sandy. “What is the nostalgia that you feel? It’s a romantic feeling, isn’t it? It’s something that has extra life that it’s been given from time. But I don’t know what it is.” Whatever it is, it’s more than patina. Sandy says it’s a vibe, a mood or character that’s inherent to a home, an antique, a piece of furniture. That feel is what draws people to antique shops like Good Goods, even if it’s just to explore, to wander through its rooms, or walk jaw-dropped through their barn.
The full monitor barn, with its raised ceiling above the center aisle loft, opens up like an airplane hanger. Glass-paned frames and patchwork quilts hang between the walls. Industrial furniture and other country style décor lie throughout the barn, and other miscellany – wooden art nouveau signs, worn leather shoes, antique tools – is found in every corner and on every surface. Good Goods has a little bit of everything, but there’s none of the typical antique shop clutter and dust. Everything looks strangely new.
It’s hard to believe this collection began as a means to pay for Sandy’s education. “We needed money, so we just started buying antiques.” At the time, the Halls lived in a mobile home in Pacific Palisades. “We had a yard, kind of, and we were selling from there. We were trying to be discreet, but we started selling so much stuff they kicked us out,” she says.
They rented a Victorian house on Wilshire and called themselves Country Stuff. “And then we moved to another place on Lincoln, and then I graduated, and then we came here,” explains Sandy. “We’ve been a lot of places and done a lot of things, and this is where we’ve ended up, but we’re not done yet.”
They may not be done, but after years of traveling road shows, after years of purchasing, restoring and selling antiques, the Halls intend to take a two-year hiatus, even sell their property. To anybody who enjoys antiquing and yard sales, this might come as a surprise. Is there anything the Halls will hesitate to give up? “Sure,” says Sandy, “A house full of stuff! But you have to make a living. I support about 40 cats, and you can’t keep everything.”
But it gives Sandy pleasure to know that when she sells an antique, she’s giving it a second, maybe even a third home. Each antique is given new life while retaining some part of the old. Still, have no regrets. “You just move on and you don’t look back and say, ‘Gee, that was fun.’ Because how long do you plan to live, see? You don’t really own anything, and that’s why you can give it up.”
For a one-of-a-kind antiquing experience, take the road less traveled to Good Goods. But do it before they pack up shop and move. And if you do miss the opportunity, don’t fret. They’re looking to buy another five acres “just over there,” Sandy waves her arm in a general direction. And they plan to move the old schoolhouse with them, maybe even use it to set up a new shop. “No matter where we do it,” Sandy assures, “we will still be Good Goods.”
Good Goods • 30924 Road 168, Visalia • (559) 594-5253