Claire Jones said quality pieces and the stories behind them drive her to add items to her inventory. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Claire Jones unabashedly loves having her shop in the Heritage District.
It’s a happy coincidence, really: Jones runs C & J’s Antiques and Garden in an old house built circa 1920 on nearly 800 square feet on Gilbert Road that was used for professional offices sometime in the 1980s. She bought the house in 2005.
“It’s hard to imagine any other company ever being able to operate from a building like this, but you know, it’s working great for me,” Jones said.
It points to a view of the Gilbert Water Tower from the garden area beyond, as well as the Byzantine Catholic Church ringing its bells behind its grounds.
“My business is all about being in the Heritage District,” she said. “I just love that.”
So much so that when the real estate market collapsed in 2008, she sold her home and downsized so she could keep the shop.
Jones said the district was very different in 2005, before most restaurants moved a little further north. Originally from New Jersey, Jones had spent most of her working life in retail on both coasts. She and her sister Joanne Pinto started the antique shop. Her sister – who is the J of C & J’s – still lives in the east, but she and other family members are looking for items to display in the store.
The garden concept was also always part of it, because Jones’ husband is a landscape gardener. She said people love the Mexican pottery and planters and other items back there. She also has some outdoor retail space when the weather is cool enough.
Her business has evolved as has the district, she said. It’s more of a mix of antiques and vintage items mixed in with newer ones.
“It’s the nature of the whole industry,” she said. “So I call it ‘antique boutique’.”
Her customers, she said, are also a mix of dedicated antique and vintage enthusiasts and more casual boutique shoppers who are here on vacation.
“The antique vintage world is all about memories,” Jones said. “The most common thing people say to me when they walk into my shop, and especially in the kitchen, is, ‘Oh, that reminds me of my grandmother’s house.’ That’s part of the experience here. … I guess that’s what antique vintage things do. They remind us of things on our journey.”
This old house
The house which is now C & J’s Antiques and Garden dates from around 1920 when the town of Gilbert was incorporated. Much of the structure, including the hearth, fireplace, and kitchen, is original in the 8,000-square-foot bungalow.
Antiques and Garden by C&J
40 N Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Opening times: Wed.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.-Tues.