Biz Beat: The Olde South Street Shoppe in Burnt Hills looks to restore history through stained glass, antiques

Man with pencil over drafting table

Owner of Old South St. Shoppe Dave Pfaffenbach, in his stained glass studio, on Kingsley Road in Burnt Hills recently.

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BURNT HILLS — When Linda Pfaffenbach was little, her grandmother sold antiques out of a room in their house. 

Pfaffenbach and her sister grew up being intrigued by the items and the history behind them. Now she looks for quirky items and one-of-a-kind pieces like antique Tiffany silver.

“Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s worth a lot,” Pfaffenbach said.

Linda Pfaffenbach’s husband, David Pfaffenbach, grew up making all sorts of models — primarily planes and cars. During a trip to see some friends of his parents to have a stained glass window he and his wife bought at an auction he discovered the craft of stained glass.

“For what you would figure would be a 30- to 40-minute visit to your parent’s friends, we were there all day,” David Pfaffenbach said, recalling how he was shown the various techniques to make stained glass.

He fell in love with the concept. 

“Being an adult now the model building kind of weaned away so much and I thought gee this might be kind of a neat thing to get into because you can build things,” he said.

The Pfaffenbachs have owned the Olde South Street Shoppe on Kingsley Road in Burnt Hills for 36 years, marrying their two interests together.

Linda Pfaffenbach buys and sells antiques, and David Pfaffenbach fixes stained glass items like lamps and windows and also creates commissioned pieces like jewelry boxes and suncatchers. 

But it hasn’t been an easy 26 years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Linda Pfaffenbach said they had to close down for a while and now they’re just starting to see more and more people come into the shop. 

“Now, I’m getting some newer customers,” she said. “I’m not sure where they live but like all of sudden they’ll come in and say ‘geez I never noticed you here before how long have you been here?’ I’ll say 36 years and they’ll go ‘Really?’ So I don’t know what the difference is.”

But, she’s happy they’re coming in and she said one of the best parts of operating the business is getting to know people when you talk to them.

David Pfaffenbach said inflation has caused him to have fewer commissioned pieces but he’s been getting work repairing stained glass at homes and even an upcoming church in Schenectady that he remains busy.

“People’s pets are my best friend,” he said. “Some lady may have a lampshade that she loves and had for years and her favorite friend, her pet cat bumped into the lamp and broke it so that’s the kind of thing — whether inflation is here or not — those are the kinds of things that get repaired quickly. The lady loves the lamp and she loves the cat.”

He said one of his favorite pieces was when he took small pieces of window glass in an eight in by 12 inch or 12 inch by 12 inch size and painted scenes on them.

“You can’t do that very large because you’re limited by the size of the kiln and also heating a large piece of glass up there’s a lot of stress that transpires while you’re heating it, pulling it, so you run the risk of cracking it,” he said.

He said he’s done scenes like a pair of cats, and a part of Lake Champlain.

“It’s challenging, but it’s really rewarding,” he said. 

One of the interesting antiques Linda Pfaffenbach is researching right now is a Little Red Riding Hood Lamp. 

“I’m finally finding it online and it’s between $1,500 and $2,000 and I’m like what’” she said. 

She said she believes the lamp is circa 1930s or early 1940s. 

“You have to do a lot of research on a lot of this stuff,” she said. 

But she said that’s what makes the job interesting. 

The couple are hoping it’s an interest their grandson will get into.

“We keep telling him this is going to be yours,” she said. “I think it scares him a little bit.”

She’s also hoping younger people will begin to fall in love with antiques and stained glass.

“I’m thrilled when I do get younger people in here,” she said. “Usually it’s older folks and they’re to the point where they want to get rid of stuff, not accumulate more.”

Categories: Business, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville

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