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Dispute doubles pickings for St. Petersburg antiques lovers

ST. PETERSBURG

So the local antiques world will now see if there are enough friends to go around.

Andrea LeGrant, 58, who had owned Patty & Friends at 1225 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N since 2005, has opened her own business, Andrea & Friends, just down the street at 24th Avenue N.

Meanwhile, Patty & Friends, billed as the oldest antiques mall in Florida, has been taken over by Blake Kennedy, whose mother, Pat McBane, founded the business.

LeGrant's new venture comes after a dispute with Kennedy, her landlord, in December that led her to move her business under the new name. She worked at Patty & Friends for 29 years, and she says she has brought more than 35 dealers with her.

In addition, many of her customers have already stopped into the new location, she said. Some even volunteered to help with the move and painting the shop.

"This store has really been a godsend," she said.

The new store is smaller, with 4,060 square feet, consolidating from a shop that occupied two buildings into one storefront in a plaza. It cost about $12,000 to open the new business. It's already bursting with inventory, with trinkets like vintage watches and Cartier glasses to furniture sets and classic paintings.

"Andrea is really fair," said Howard Dodge, 51, a longtime customer. "She'll work with you on the prices, which you always appreciate when shopping for antiques."

Kennedy, who owns the buildings occupied by Patty & Friends as well as the name, took over the business after LeGrant decided not to renew her lease. Kennedy said he has 16 dealers, including several new ones, who feature watches, coins, furniture and more.

He has done some renovations.

"We've also redone the interior," Kennedy said. "For the first time in years we've been able to freshen up the paint and carpet."

Austin Bogues can be reached at abogues@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8872.

Dispute doubles pickings for St. Petersburg antiques lovers 02/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 1:41pm]
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