Cook & Gardener
Lahaska business prepares for fifth year
| Cook & Gardener Collections owners Roger Bordman and Liz Billies will enter their fifth year in business in May. The vintage and antiques shop is just outside Peddler’s Village at 5806 Lower York Road, Lahaska. It is open every day.
Roger Bordman could have talked for hours.
He might as well have been a kid in a candy store, surrounded by some of his favorite finds in the back room of the business he and his wife, Liz Billies, own just outside Peddler’s Village: fishing reels, old farming tools, elaborate model ships, 19th-century blades and other “mantiques.”
“We’re not the kind of people who want to stop,” said Bordman, who is retired from the Air Force and flew for Federal Express until recently. “We like to keep learning new things. She’s (Billies) an information junkie, and I’m somebody who likes to do so many different things. I have eclectic tastes.”
Those tastes are for sale at Cook & Gardener Collections at 5806 Lower York Road (Route 202), Lahaska. The couple will enter its fifth year in business in May. Bordman and Billies have been at their present location for three years.
“We had been collecting antiques over a period of time because we really liked the possibility of taking something old, making something new out of it, refurbishing it, repurposing it and really getting something out of it,” Bordman said.
Cook & Gardener spills into five rooms covering more than 1,600 square feet. Each room has its own theme, corresponding with the rooms of a house. One must meander through the garden room, the living room, the dining room and kitchen before entering the garage, where Bordman seems quite content.
“The bottom line is it’s fun,” Bordman said, “and you learn something every day and so do other people (customers) when they come looking for some of their treasures. They don’t always know what they’re looking for, but somehow they know it when they see it.”
Cook & Gardener boasts it’s an “antique and vintage store for the designer, the collector and the curious.” It’s a mix of old and new, with some of the older pieces dating back to the American Revolution and even before that. Bordman has pocket watches, for example, that date to the 18th century.
“You know, they come in for the hunt,” Bordman said, when asked what flies off Cook & Gardener’s shelves the quickest. “They’re treasure hunting, many of them are treasure hunting. After we’ve greeted them, we always ask them, ‘Are you looking for anything in particular?’ And nine times out of 10 it’s, ‘No, we’re just hunting.’ ”
Cook & Gardener’s inventory is always changing, Bordman and Billies agreed. The husband-and-wife team hunts, too. They have others hunt for them, and then they’re also buyers, if that can’t-miss find appears on their doorstep.
The couple has a barn for overflow, Billies said.
Bordman is for preservation as much as anything. He briefly discussed the market for sterling silver patterns, which are often bought up and then melted down for instant profit.
“In many cases, we would much rather see it remain in its original state with the original patterns,” Bordman said. “There’s a lot of workmanship in it.
“Important stuff that we find,” he added, “should be preserved. And they don’t make things like they used to anyway.”
Central Bucks County used to be an antiques corridor, Bordman said. It’s starting to become that again, “where they (collectors) can make the rounds and hit antique shops all up and down (Route) 202, from Buckingham, Doylestown down to New Hope, Lahaska and Lambertville.
“They’re coming in from Connecticut and New York and they’re making these rounds, and they’re bringing busloads of tourists and visitors to Peddler’s Village and a lot of them are finding their way over here,” he concluded. “It’s starting to grow again.”
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