Judy Provias has always loved antiques.
“My grandmother lived in a 200-plus-year-old house that George Washington actually slept in. Everything in her house was antique,” Provias said. “I loved it.”
Provias, of Leechburg, owns and operates La Dee Dah Antiques, located at 161 Market St. in her hometown.
La Dee Dah celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
“I bought this store because I was tired of driving to antique shows,” said Provias, 68. “I would travel to Texas and Oklahoma selling antiques. I just got tired of driving.”
Previously the owner of a second-
hand book store, the North Huntingdon native bought her first antique store and resold it for a profit while studying psychology at Wichita State University in Kansas.
“I consider this my retirement business,” Provias said.
She lives above the store and has gained a niche group of customers seeking vintage and eclectic jewelry.
“They love it,” Provias said. “It’s a third of my business income.”
For 50 years, the storefront was home to Earl’s Jewelers, so it was already set up for displaying jewelry.
Nine display cases house more than 1,000 vintage jewelry items such as rings, Victorian and shell cameos, necklaces, brooches, pearls, pins and earrings.
The pieces date from the 1920s to present day. They range in price from $1 to $100.
“I try to keep things under $20 because it’s affordable,” Provias said.
Unique items include a necklace made of bone from India and a goat’s hoof ankle bracelet.
Religious jewelry such as rosaries, angel pins and Saint Christopher
medals are top-sellers.
“Some of the younger customers buy rosaries and wear them as necklaces,” Provias said.
Before covid-19 restrictions affected her daily business life, Provias routinely frequented estate sales in the Alle-Kiski Valley, her go-to source for purchasing the bulk of her jewelry.
“I started with one case and people bought a lot of jewelry, so I kept buying and learning,” Provias said.
She said business has been down about 20% during the pandemic.
The shop reopened last May after being closed during the state-mandated shut down.
“I get a lot of customers saying they’ve had cabin fever,” Provias said.
First-time customer Julie Van Dyke of Avonmore shopped for about an hour Friday.
“Sometimes you go to antique stores and the prices are too high,” Van Dyke said. “This store is reasonable.”
Valley News Dispatch