“Discover Downtown Schenectady” is a monthly feature spotlighting the businesses and people making downtown unique.
Bill Rezey’s job and his hobby both require a lot of traveling. So when he was looking for a new location for his antiques business, he could have gone just about anywhere. He chose downtown Schenectady.
“I really love Jay Street,” said Rezey, whose shop, From Here to Antiquity, is actually just around the corner at 439 State St. “There is a very European flair to it because it’s a walkway. It just seemed like an ideal place, and where we are it’s the best of both worlds. We’re right there in the Jay Street area, and we get all that traffic as well as the State Street traffic.”
Rezey has been running From Here to Antiquity in downtown Schenectady for more than two years now, and he also has another spot with three other antiques dealers up in Ballston Spa where he lives. A Troy native and a graduate of Vincentian Institute, antiques dealing is still just Rezey’s hobby, albeit an important one.
“I’ve always done a lot of traveling, and when I started collecting, traveling to antique shows on the weekend was a good way of getting together with my family,” he said. “I’d work all week in New York, then come back home for the weekend and we’d go antiquing. I lost a fortune doing it. I did it out of a passion rather than a desire to make money, so I didn’t do it very well. I’ve gotten much better at it.”
In the music industry
Rezey’s primary source of income through most of his life has been the entertainment business. He runs a booking agency called Fast Forward International Communications. His most notable clients have included Mickey Rooney, Carol Lawrence, Buddy Greco, Anna Maria Alberghetti and Julius LaRosa.
“I went to New York when I was 19 and worked in the music industry for about 18 years,” said Rezey. “Then I got into management and started working with the Mystics and a bunch of other old ‘doo-wop’ bands from the ’50s. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Rooney, whose movie career began in the silent film era, and Lawrence, who played Maria in the original production of “West Side Story” on Broadway, are Rezey’s two favorites.
“I’m one of the few people Mickey Rooney will actually take a call from these days,” Rezey said of the 92-year-old. “I became fast friends with him and his wife, Jan, and Carol Lawrence is just a wonderful person. A lot of the people I work with are older. They’re a pleasure to work with and they pay their bills.”
Often on the road
As for his shop on State Street, Rezey has 3,000 square feet of space loaded with a variety of items.
“It’s a very eclectic store, as most antique shops should be, and we have a large selection of vintage and estate jewelry that is really in vogue right now,” said Rezey. “We have items from the Venetian Period, and drop leaf desks and other furniture from the 1750s up to the 1950s.”
Rezey says he has enjoyed getting to know downtown Schenectady.
“I think the police do a great job here, and I think the camaraderie among the businesspeople is unparalleled,” he said. “We all get along, and that makes this spot a delightful place to be.”
When Rezey isn’t running the shop, he’s out on road looking for more antiques to buy.
“We never stop doing that,” he said. “We buy every day, and hopefully we sell every day.”
At the end of each day, Rezey usually relaxes in an easy chair and watches television, usually tuning in to see “Pawn Stars” or “American Pickers” on The History Channel and “Market Warriors” on PBS.
“I love both ‘Pawn Stars’ and ‘Market Warriors,’ and we watch all those shows,” he said. “I think they’re all pretty cool. I’m not sure how true to life they all are, but they’re pretty entertaining. It’s like watching professional wrestling.”