The antiques business could use a helping hand, and Connecticut State Senator Rob Kane is trying to get his state to lend one.
Kane, a Republican who represents the 32nd District, which includes Woodbury and ten other towns, has sponsored a bill in the General Assembly to expand the existing Connecticut Antiques Trail statewide.
The bill, if passed into law, would require the Department of Economic and Community Development to “establish a Connecticut antiques trail to identify and market sites in the state where antiques are sold. The department shall develop criteria to identify (1) major antique dealers, (2) communities that feature a high concentration of antique dealers, and (3) auction houses that have annual sales in excess of one million dollars for inclusion in the antiques trail. The department shall develop a program to promote the antiques trail, including, but not limited to, (A) directional and other signs and notices pertaining to the sites identified by the department, and (B) an Internet web site for the antiques trail.”
This is not the first time Kane has helped the antiques industry. In 2009, he was instrumental in getting signage on the highway signifying parts of the Antiques Trail in his district. In testimony before the Commerce Committee in February, Kane touted the successes of the Antiques Trail. “So far it’s actually been a bit of a success. People traveling on Interstate 84 recognize the signage and recognize the area as…a great place to stop…and antique, or [go] antiquing…but what it also does is give help to local businesses like the diners and luncheonettes and dry cleaners and gas stations, and [it] has a great economic effect.”
Taking an existing successful project and expanding it statewide seems to be a no-brainer. On April 11, the Commerce Committee agreed and voted unanimously that Kane’s bill “ought to pass.”
A striking fact from the Commerce Committee’s April 11 report is the estimated costs. The committee thinks that it will cost less than $10,000 in fiscal year 2014 and less than $10,000 in fiscal year 2015. That seems to be a paltry sum over a two-year period to assist the industry.
It sounds as though legislators in Connecticut get it: antiques dealers are an important part of local economies. Why can’t other states follow suit?
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest