With the closing date approaching in a matter of days, Seaport Antique Village is being stripped of what is left of their elegant collection.
The Fenwick Island landmark, along Route 54, has been a staple in the antiquing community, drawing in collectors and connoisseurs from across the country. Seaport Antique Village has been coined, “The museum where the art is for sale,” and was at one time one of the largest privately owned antique collections under one roof in the country.
“We have done for antiques in the area what Phillips has done for seafood,” said owner Rick M. Lyman, though he credits much of the business’ success to his wife, Kit. “Seaport Antique Village is the product of Mrs. Lyman’s interest and knowledge of antiques,” said Rick Lyman. “She’s to be credited with anything here.” Kit Lyman has traveled the world, searching for prized collectibles to purchase and resell.
The Lymans began their antique business 40 years ago, along Route 1 in Ocean City. A few years later, in 1969, they purchased the Route 54 property, which began in an old barn. They lived in the area, running the business for years before purchasing a home in Florida.
As they approached retirement nearly 11 years ago, the couple returned to the Delaware shore to an apartment that was fashioned on the second floor of the building. Rick Lyman said that the choice to return was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
“People say that true antiquers will go out under a rock to find antiques,” said Rick Lyman. “Once your name is out and you’re recognized, people will go anywhere. It’s always been location, location, location. We’d started out with one building, and we ended up with a city block, taking our parking and everything into consideration.”
Lyman admitted that he even had rare accounts of interested customers asking for the nearest airport, just in order to visit the Seaport Antique Village.
“A lot of our customers are weekenders,” said Ty Charles, Lyman’s consultant.
Since the announcement earlier this year of the store’s Dec. 2 closing, it has been a task just to keep track of inventory leaving the store. Stylish furniture, magnificent chandeliers, spectacular paintings and unique ceramic-ware once adorned the showrooms that now stand bare.
All items have been marked down to expedite sales before Seaport Village goes out of business. Most of what’s left has been consolidated through the building’s main hallway. The nearby luxurious red staircase, located at the center of the building, has been the site of many wedding photographs.
“Business has been very successful, especially over Black Friday and the past weekend,” said Charles. Charles worked with the Lymans since September, but has been consulting with companies for years.
“Ty has been the backbone of the sales,” added Lyman. “I’ve never had anything negative to say of him, and he’s really helped through the season.”
Abizak’s Furniture will be taking the place of the Route 54 location. “They’re more of a modern style, which is very ‘in’ today,” said Lyman. “It’s definitely a trend. It’s just changing with the time.”
Rick Lyman said he has had a successful career with Seaport, and although he will miss it, he’s looking forward to enjoying his own time with his wife. The two will return to their home in Coco, Fla. “It’s a quaint town, full of antique shops. It’s just a wonderful place to live — and eat,” he said with a laugh.
The remainder of antiques and collectibles at Seaport Village will be marked down 40 to 80 percent through the end of the store’s business on Dec. 2. Lyman added that he hopes the last of the inventory will be sold, though whatever is left, said Charles, “will be donated to charity.”