By DIEGO JESUS BARTESAGHI MENA
American Sampler will close its doors at the end of 2021, after more than 40 years of activity on Church Street in Montclair.
Pam Lamoglia, who co-owns the store with her husband William, said it’s time for the couple to retire (although she will continue to operate her clothing store, Dobbs Limited, alongside American Sampler).
“It gave us a lot of fun, but it’s time to go. We are not getting any younger, ”said Lamoglia.
Lamoglia said the idea to open the store came when his friends and family were visiting him. They were fascinated by the furniture and antiques she had collected over the years.
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“So what happened was I sold a whole bunch of stuff in my house and then I said, ‘You know what, I’m just going to open a store.’ And that’s how it happened, ”Lamoglia said. “We brought in antiques and reproductions and all kinds of things that we loved, and we’ve been successful for over 40 years. ”
Lamoglia said he opened the store in 1981 with just $ 3,000.
Anyone looking to decorate a home could find a lot at American Sampler. There are large wooden wardrobes and desks. Small Christmas decorations. Frames and art. Hutches. Trinkets. Full of treasures of all sizes. And although the store appears to only carry antiques, Lamoglia said there are new items on offer as well.
“It’s a lot of decoration and personal help that we give to customers,” Lamoglia said. “So myself, my staff, my husband and my manager, Christopher, we have all really helped people, and still do. We have just finished a few houses where we have decorated them.
Church Street was different when American Sampler opened 40 years ago, Lamoglia said. She said the street had a more diverse selection of retail stores and fewer restaurants.
“We had a toy store and a leather goods store and things that I thought were added to the street,” Lamoglia said. “And now it seems to be a little less interesting. But still, overall it’s Church Street. It is a famous street in the city. It is a famous street all over the neighborhood and people love to come here.
Lamoglia has many fond memories of the store and the community. She said Christmas has always been great because of the selection of ornaments, trees and decorations available.
“We have a gentleman who bought a Santa Claus every year for his house,” Lamoglia said. “And then people come every year for ornaments and decorations. Everyone says he’s going to miss this because we’ve always made some really unique decorations, not the kind of drugged stuff you might find everywhere. And so, for me, the memories of Christmas, where everyone is happy and looking forward to the season, I think those are the best memories.
The store has also had its share of famous guests over the years.
Lamoglia said Madonna came a few years ago. Singer Dione Warwick (who grew up in nearby Orange) and the late Olympia Dukakis (who lived in Montclair for three decades) also visited.
“All the stars of the soap opera who lived in Montclair came in, like Kim Zimmer [from the CBS soap opera ‘Guiding Light’]”Lamoglia said.” So a lot of people have come who are quite famous in the area. ”
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year and the closures it caused affected the store, she said.
“It was really heartbreaking,” Lamoglia said. “My husband and I are at an age where we have been through a lot and we never remember something so devastating.”
But the eventual reopening, as restrictions slowly eased, was a relief. Lamoglia said business was slow at first, but eventually improved. Yet the pandemic played a role in the decision to retire.
” We talked about [retirement] for a long time and when [the pandemic] arrived, my husband and I kind of said, “You know maybe it’s time. There’s so much going on in work and maybe it’s time for us to sit down and to have a little more fun, you know? ‘ Lamoglia said.
She said the store will remain open until the end of the year. Everything is on sale and she hopes most of the items will be gone by then.
“I’m going to miss all the people who came, who we worked with and got to know and fell in love with. What we do will be missed and people will be missed. It’s going to leave a void in our lives, but I kind of think that life is in cycles. So it’s a new cycle for us, ”said Lamoglia. “I hope everyone comes in, and even if they don’t want to buy, just come and say ‘goodbye’ – but come in, because we’re literally giving this stuff away. So come in, negotiate, let’s say ‘goodbye’ and let’s celebrate. “