New antique store opens in downtown Aztec

James Fenton

AZTEC — Farmington residents George and Debby Schweier like to hit the road — and they often go antique shopping when they do.

Backroads Antiques co-owner George Schweier looks through an antique tool box on Tuesday at his store on Main Avenue in Aztec.

The result of their wanderlust and picking addiction have resulted in the couple's first antiques store, Backroads Collectibles, which opened last week on Main Avenue in the town's historic downtown.

While George Schweier currently works in the oilfield, he has been a scuba instructor, a yacht builder, a professional chef, an underwater videographer and a catastrophic insurance adjuster. But it's his Los Alamos upbringing in his parents' antique store and restaurant, The Love It Shop, that got him started in the business early on, he said.

"I've been in this business most of my life. I was in the antiques business since I was a kid," he said. "We started this (store) when I couldn't walk into my garage (at home) anymore."

The Schweiers' business model is simple, he said. Sell at fair prices to make a modest profit to help finance the next trip for the next trailer load of discoveries.

The couple enjoy the thrill of discovery, finding treasures during their road trips every chance they get, hitting estate sales, auctions and dusty corners of antique stores anywhere in the country.

Picking unknown pieces that catch his fancy is another exciting element to "the never-ending hunt," George Schweier said

Debby Schweier pointed out one item after another in the couple's new store, interested whether people will see what she and her husband see in the finds they have for sale.

George Schweier pointed out a Red Skeleton nightlight, a brass replica of a diver's helmet sized for a monkey's head, a 150-year-old anvil, a case full of hunting and scuba knives, a 1917 Brunswick wind-up 78 player, an old Boss kerosene stove, a pre-Prohibition ceramic brewing crock and an old vehicle brake pressure bleeder. With each item, he smiled and, recalling an anecdote or tale related to its purchase, asked a recurring question, "Do you want to hear a story about that?"

But not everything in the store is a relic from another century.

Next to an antique cash register from the late 1800s, Storie Schweier, the couple's daughter, rings up a customer's purchase with a credit card reader plugged into her smartphone, a glimmer of modernity in an otherwise history-filled room.

The couple are off soon to Oregon to travel the Pacific Northwest in search of more nautical items they both confess a liking for.

"Every chance we get, we go pickin' (and visit) hot springs when we hit the road," Debby Schweier said. "We've got something for everyone. But if we don't have it. We will find it."

They said they would like to bring in a vendor or two who specializes in antique jewelry and rent them a case inside the store to sell their wares.

They also take select items on consignment and have plans to open a back annex for children's items called Pooh's Corner.

City Manager Josh Ray said in a text message that the store will contribute to the town's economic growth.

Ray said that Aztec's efforts to create a business incubator along with other shops slated to open downtown are evidence that the city's commercial district is improving.

"We are very excited about (the Schweiers' store)," Ray said. "With Sweet Pea Cafe open downtown and Backroads, we feel that Main Street is slowly growing to become a destination."

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621

Manager Justin Dennis on Tuesday puts letters on the storefront at Backroads Antiques on Main Avenue in Aztec.
Antique tools are displayed on Tuesday in the back of Backroads Antiques on Main Avenue in Aztec.
Backroads Antiques co-owner Debby Schweier on Tuesday talks about the variety of antiques for sale at the store on Main Avenue in Aztec.

More Information

What: Backroads Collectibles

Where: 109 S. Main Ave. in Aztec

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday

More info: Call 719-663-1601