(This article has been updated from the print edition)
Knick-knacks, doohickies, and possible hidden treasure can be found at Antiques on First, a new store which recently opened in downtown Benicia.
Antiques on First is owned by Allie McLanahan Mamere and her husband. Mamere was born in Baltimore. After a few pit stops in Florida and Colorado, Mamere made her way west to California in 2009. She said she settled in Benicia because of family in the area and the charming nature of the town. Besides working as a social worker for the past 30 years, Mamere was a dealer at the long-time, and now-closed, Benicia Antique Mall, which was across the street from her new shop. Prior to joining the Antique Mall, Mamere had been squirreling away items in the hopes of someday opening a shop. Then she joined the Antique Mall and enjoyed having her own space there for two-plus years. When the Antique Mall lost its lease in October 2017, Mamere had the opportunity to open her own store.
Bringing over some of the dealers who worked with the Antique Mall, like Mike Roetzer, Hoffman House Antiques and Wild Rose Cottage, Mamere opened her new store in mid-November. She described the aesthetic of her store as rich and full of experience.
“I want it to be fun when people come in,” she said. “I want them to be able to remember things that their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had or see things that they have never seen before and learned about. I want people to have an appreciation for how well-made things keep over time for the richness of stories that things have to tell.”
Items in Antiques on First run the gamut from little things to big things, Mamere said. She sells items which are considered antiques, vintage and retro. She added that the feedback from customers is that the store has a quality selection and things are well-displayed.
“I want people to come away with an experience,” Mamere said. “Hopefully, they come away with something to buy and take home or give something as a gift. I want people to want to come back. I want them to have fun while they are here. It’s really important to me how I treat people to me my shop is an extension of my home.”
Mamere is thankful for the immense amount of support she has received from the Benicia community and her fellow businesses.
“I am really am so thankful,” she said. “We have a wonderful month and a half that we have been open. We just had a tremendous amount of love and support from the community.”
Antiques on First is located at 919 First St., near Pacifica Pizza. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, call the store at 751-3727.