HO-HO-KUS, N.J. – For the past 50 years, antiques dealer Maury Alan Lubman of Wayne, owner of Granny’s Attic in Ho-Ho-Kus , has loved coming to work every day.
Then again, his three-story workplace is 30,000 square feet of pretty, fascinating, or intriguing merchandise.
Granny's, a destination site for antiquers in multiple states, is known as "SoHo in HoHo."
“I have enough stuff to fill 100,000 square feet, which no dealer could afford,” he said. “Sometimes treasures are squished together.”
There are cigar store Indians, pharaoh sculptures, suits of armor, chandeliers, paintings, furniture, and much more.
“We have primitive furniture, farm furniture, fine French, Italian, Federal, Early American, Empire, Biedermeier, Victorian, the old Oak thing from 1880 to 1910, the Mission Oak thing,” Lubman said.
“We have good Art Deco, mahogany from the 1920s to the 1950s,” he added. “After that, you have Retro, then Early Modern. We love it all.”
Since the beginning, Lubman said, his business has been an adventure. He started it almost accidentally.
In college during the 1960s, he rented an unfurnished apartment in Lexington, Kentucky and bought furniture at antiques stores. After he graduated, he put the stuff in his mother’s garage, which made her unhappy.
Lubman rented a party apartment in Clifton and put the stuff there. When he got thrown out of the apartment, he rented a storefront, just for storage. One day a guy walked in and wanted to buy a table.
So Lubman started shopping. A lot. For 10 years, he had an apartment in Amsterdam where he would meet friends.
“We would shop all day and party all night,” Lubman recalled. “We would fly to Budapest. We even used to buy from a band of gypsies near the Ukrainian border.”
To this day, he loves schmoozing with people — from ordinary folks to his more famous customers, including Whoopi Goldberg. TV programs have rented and bought pieces from him for their production sets.
But the industry is in decline now, said Lubman, citing the deep decrease in antique stores in formerly vibrant centers, including Nyack, Chester, and Hackensack.
Cable shows made people believe everything they own is worth a million dollars, he said. So they don’t sell for reasonable prices. Also, eBay eroded the customer base.
What really breaks his heart, though, is that the millennial generation doesn’t seem to want antiques.
“They’re too busy playing with their iPhones,” he said. “They don’t like the fine china. For them, paper plates are good enough.”