Spencer Leonard went looking for a 10-by-10 space to sell his oddities and collectables, but instead, he found an 8,200-square-foot store.
“I call this a store,” Leonard said looking around SAL’S, a new antiques, collectibles and oddities store located on Fourth Street next to Goodwill. “It’s not a flea market.”
After working in a flea market, Leonard, 46, said he wanted to offer people a chance to sell their items in a clean, well-organized space.
He said the idea of collaborating with other collectors received an abundance of support from his friends and members of the Laramie community.
An acronym for Spencer and Anissa Leonard, SAL’S opened Dec. 1 with items from the Leonards and 18 other people.
“What I’m doing is giving 18 people a chance to start their business and sell their stuff,” he said.
Leonard said he has been collecting odds and ends for years but couldn’t find the right place to sell his collection.
After a fruitless search, he said he talked to his wife, friends and fellow collectors before talking to Goodwill representatives about renting the property.
During conversations with Goodwill’s CEO, Leonard said he worked out the details of moving into the store, but he wasn’t sure the company would go for it.
“I wanted my store to compliment Goodwill and the town,” he said. “Next thing I know, my wife calls and says ‘you just got a fax and (Goodwill) approved everything you said.’”
After Goodwill approved the deal, he said he brought a couch in the store, stared at the empty place and thought about how he was going to bring it all together.
“I like it clean,” he said. “I like it open. In other stores like this, when you walk in, you can hardly see past the first display.”
While SAL’S main sales floor hosts several displays and sections, taller items were moved toward the walls and the middle section was organized so a shopper could view the whole room in a glance.
The items were an eclectic mix of U.S. Army surplus, motorcycle memorabilia, furniture and assorted items that would have been hard to fit into a single category.
“I picked these tintypes up some time ago,” he said pointing to a few palm-sized photographs produced in the late 1800s. “I like oddities.”
Moving over to the Army surplus section, he picked up an old, olive drab metal detector and said, “I mean, who doesn’t need a mine sweeper?”
While some sellers have marked-off sections of the main sales floor, the store also includes several rooms, which Leonard said are rented on an individual basis.
“Some of my sellers were interested in a single room so they could decorate the walls or create a scene with their goods,” he said.
Some of the sellers he’s known for years, but all of them were hand-picked, he said.
“I was very particular about who I wanted to work with,” he explained. “I knew what kind of things I wanted to fill this place with. I wanted to be surrounded with cool stuff. I have something for everyone here.”
Leonard stopped at a motorcycle parked with a skeleton set on the seat.
“This is, I think, Esmeralda,” he said pointing to wig-wearing skeleton sitting on the black, 1988 Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster. “The bike runs good, too.”
While explaining the skeleton dog sitting on the back seat, SAL’S raffle winner, Charlotte Romero, stopped in to pick up her winnings: an early 1900s steamer trunk complete with original lock and key.
“I want to try to have a raffle every week, but I want it to be odd things you couldn’t win in any other raffle,” he said. “On a cold blizzardy day when there’s nothing to do in town, I want people to be able to say ‘hey, let’s go see what’s new at SAL’S.’”
SAL’S is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. seven days a week.