RANSON—The name may be unusual, Two Crows Antique Mall, but the devotion to both antiques as well as the Eastern Panhandle are very much a part of Cheryl Burns’ life. And, crows are too.
Burns, in her mid-60s, co-owns the business with her husband Ed, who is in his mid-70s. They have been running the mall, located at 1212 N. Mildred St., since September of last year. Burns is helped by employees Mark Gruner and Anne Price.
The 13,000 square foot building was once a medical facility and before that the Badger building where fire extinguishers were manufactured. The Burns added a warehouse. It’s now the home to 63 dealers who rent space with at least 60 dealers on a waiting list.
““My father Bob was an amateur antique dealer. His interest in antiques bled over into me,” Burns said. “I have always loved antiques especially the story, the history behind them,” Burns said.
Originally from Berkeley Springs, Burns has been in the business for 35 years. Her last job was the manager of a flea market on Halltown Road, Harpers Ferry. Many of the dealers she worked with before have followed her to Two Crows. She emphasized that Two Crows is not a flea market.
“We don’t sell clothes or shoes. Our dealers work hard to kept this place clean and to make their displays beautiful,” Burns said. “And the place doesn’t smell ‘old.’ I’ve had customers tell me how good the area smells.”
Burns credits the name of her establishment to her mother Freda who loved and literally adopted crows. Burns also has the crow-like maiden name of Crosen.
“My mother had a flock of crows who would call to her. They are very smart,” Burns said. “We had a crow that we rescued that stayed here for a while. Unfortunately, I’m allergic.”
Statues of crows and signs featuring the bird are located throughout the mall. Two Crows has many different rooms as well as a larger warehouse space. All closet doors in the building were removed with each closet now being a display area. And, the items displayed are anything from furniture to toys to art work and even hidden treasures.
“When we first started out here, I discovered a marriage certificate from 1949. Three generations of the family came to see it,” Burns said.
Burns said one of the most popular kind of items sold at Two Crows are country primitives.
“These are simple items. Minimalist. No bells and whistles,” Burns said. “We have a cupboard from the late 1800s. You can see the paint peeling, but don’t paint it. Leave it alone. There’s an assortment of Griswold cast iron frying pans. We have frozen Charlotte dolls, dolls whose arms and legs don’t move, who were given away as prizes at carnivals.”
Two Crows has a room dedicated to items from the Civil War, a nod to the many battles fought in the Eastern Panhandle.
"We’ve had muskets and swords. These items go very fast,” Burns said.
Pictures of racehorses, boots worn by jockeys and other racing items can be found, also all part of the area’s heritage.
Art work from stained class to work from local painters are available.
Customers can buy jams and candies as well as things like milk paint if they want to try working with wood. Milk paint has been around for hundreds of years and is said to be the best paint for raw wood.
“We also carry an assortment of magazines with ideas for decorating. People look at them then go in search of items in the mall like those pictured,” Burns said.
Burns said many of her customers find her on Facebook.
“I have a regular customer in Texas. She will place an order and her son in Baltimore will pick it up. We don’t deliver but we know people who do so we refer customers to them,” Burns said.
The wide variety of merchandise on display can meet just about anyone’s interest.
“There are so many things, I even find it overwhelming,” Burns said, smiling.
Two Crows hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.