Your Treasure Hunt Awaits
Robin Halgas has always had an appreciation for antiques, for things of years gone by that were made of a different craftsmanship and design...
Originally owning a national sales rep company in the gift industry with multiple showrooms in various states, Robin traveled all over the world for work. “I’ve been in the new products industry for 30 years, but I tend to buy antiques because the new products these days are not made the same,” said Robin. “I loved visiting thrift shops all around the world. I would take an extra suitcase for all of the treasures I would find.” Robin’s antique collection had grown so immensely that she decided to rent a space at Antique Co-Op around 10 years ago. After being in the store for a few years, the owner’s husband passed away and she decided it was time to move on. So, she approached Robin about taking over the store. “She came to me and said that she was either going to sell the store or close it altogether,” said Robin. “She said that there wasn’t anybody else at the time who understood the retail aspect of it like I did, so she asked if I wanted to buy Antique Co-Op.” Already owning and running her own business, Robin was hesitant to take on another project, but ultimately, she didn’t want to see the store close. “Everyone there had been with the store for a long time, so I agreed and took it over seven years ago.”
With around 23 vendors currently renting spaces at Antique Co-Op, you can find almost anything you’re looking for as far as a specific era. “You can find anything from antique, vintage, handmade, country, farmhouse, mid-century, Paris-theme. The list goes on and on,” said Robin. “Walking through our store is like taking a step back in time. People visit and feel like they’re being transported back to their grandma’s time. We often have people tell us about memories of visiting our store as a child with their parent or grandparent to purchase their first piece of furniture. We love hearing that.” Shoppers are often reminded of fond memories while searching for a unique, one-of-a-kind treasure. “I want people to take home a hidden gem that they are thrilled to have found.”
One of the best aspects of owning the Antique Co-Op is that Robin gets to work with her family. Her husband, William, bought the store with her and helps with maintenance. “He’s a huge part of it,” said Robin. Both of her daughters, Holly Corley and Sarah Chipinkia, also have booths, and now even Robin’s grandchildren are joining in on the family business. “My 12-year-old grandson told me, ‘The best part of your store is working up front with the customers at the cash register!’ It’s definitely a family affair.” Robin attributes her success to having the help of all of her family, as well as her vendors, who have become like a second family to her. “My vendors are extremely important to me and my business, not just that they rent space, but they bring a whole different set of likes, preferences, and personalities to each corner of my store.” Every vendor together is what makes Antique Co-Op what it is. Each booth is different from the next and can keep you digging for hours, which some patrons do. “People say that our store is where they come to when they need to feel better; they find peace here. It’s so much more than just selling stuff.” Antique Co-Op may appear small from the outside, but it’s actually 5,400 square feet filled with eclectic tastes from around the world.
When thinking about the future of Antique Co-Op, Robin hopes that the store continues on long into the future. The storefront has been an antique store for over 35 years, but the actual building is over 100 years old, an antique itself. “This building was one of the original grocery stores in Contra Costa County,” said Robin. “There are pictures where you can see horse drawn carriages pulling up to this store. It’s a historical place.” Visitors treasure the fact that Antique Co-Op is still around and they can visit and relive childhood memories. “We are very fortunate; we’ve always been very well supported by the community, even during the pandemic. Brentwood is a community-oriented place, and so is our store. I hope this place carries on long after I’m done. Shop small! The small shops are what hold our community together; they’re our backbone!”
Address: 6675 Brentwood Boulevard, Brentwood, CA 94513
Phone: (925) 516 1563
Photos by: Ron Essex Photography