You know the old saying: one woman’s junk is another’s treasure. Or junque, more accurately. At the doorstep to the East End antiquing world, standing outside The Junque Shop in Riverhead, the hybrid of junk and antique on the sign welcoming visitors is not unintentional. “There’s quality,” says owner Doree Cohen, “but you’re not going to pay too much for it. You’re going to get something good for a good price.”
Stepping inside, there’s an Antiques Roadshow air to the place, a sense that a hidden treasure awaits around the next corner. And depending on your pleasure, that feeling probably isn’t unjustified. The array of items reflects what Doree calls a natural eye “for what people are looking for.” Antique furniture, folk art duck decoys, a 19th century Russian painting, high-end slot machines that would feel at home amid the bells and whistles of a Vegas casino. “If they’re the right price, people will buy them.”
Not that it’s always easy to sell them. Whether she takes items on consignment or purchases them outright for resale, Doree looks for pieces that will reach out and grab people. That includes herself, which can be a dangerous proposition. “I do get attached. I do fall in love with the beautiful paintings,” she says, almost wistfully. But business is business. “This is a lesson in letting go.”
When Doree moved to Riverhead in 1998, she worked at the Riverhead Grill, then brokered real estate while developing a following selling antiques and other finds in her yard. She attributes the move to opening The Junque Shop in 2008 to the turn in the real estate market, but there is no doubt a deeper calling as well.
“My parents were in the business—The Best for Less,” she says, seated at her desk in the back of The Junque Shop. She motions over her shoulder to a painting of a woman watching over her. “That’s my mother behind me. She had a shop in Carona, Queens. My brothers and I grew up in the shop, my dad bought at auctions, close-outs in the garment district.” A small smile turns up at the corners of her mouth. “Ladies wanted the best for less. That’s what they got.”
Giving more goes for Doree’s adopted community as it does for her business. She lives on Main Street, talks up every restaurant in town, belongs to the iloveriverhead group. “I’m a big cheerleader for Riverhead,” she says. “It’s like a small country town, everybody knows everybody, everybody works with everybody to make this town work. You have downtown, you have the riverfront—what’s not to love about it? It’s evolving, but it’s still the same as it always was.”
The Junque Shop is located at 269 Riverleigh Avenue in Riverhead, 631-591-3470.