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Published March 15 2010

Business Q&A with Shannon Grindberg of Phat Kat Antiques & Vintage Vinyl

Like many kids, Shannon Grindberg collected baseball cards.

Grindberg also began collecting records as a teen growing up in Mapleton, N.D.

Now he has 5,000 square feet of stuff under one roof at his Fargo business, Phat Kat Antiques & Vintage Vinyl, 1501 1st Ave. S., after recently moving from 1330 Main Ave.

Grindberg’s collecting hobby exploded when he lived in Boulder, Colo.

“I moved back to Fargo in 1998,” he said. “I decided I wanted to start working for myself. I just kind of jumped in with both feet.”

Q: What year did you start your antique business?

A: I started working full time for myself in 2000. I had stuff in five different locations and decided I’m going to do the big consolidation and not have to move anything ever again.

I still have spots in the Moorhead Antique Mall.

Do you remember what the first thing was that you collected?

I used to have a huge Hot Wheels collection. I was really big into Star Wars figurines. I collected aluminum cans as a kid. Every time we took them in to get the money, I remember my mom taking us over to LaBelle’s and buying action figures.

Some kids had lemonade or Kool-Aid stands. I remember setting up in my driveway and having a toy sale. It was fun.

What kind of inventory will you have at this store?

Records, cars, lots of books. Personally I collect a lot of World War II military memorabilia. I have a lot of that for sale. I do a lot with jewelry, coins, pottery, glassware, a lot of sporting collectibles, metal trucks, trains, slot cars - it goes on and on.

Half of it is open at this point. We will be opening a large section of the back as well, which will consist of a huge section of discount records, also several thousand books. There’s going to be some larger furniture pieces in the back and another eclectic mix of antiques and collectibles.

Has the antique business changed since you got into it?

I think so. In the last few years, just due to the economy, things are a little soft.

What can be super hot today might not be tomorrow.

I often get asked, “What’s selling now, what’s the hot thing?”

The best answer to that question is, whatever is marked too cheap. And it’s the truth.

I think what’s lacking in this business is appeal to the younger generation. That’s where I come in.

What do you mean?

Records are a big part of this store. The same with the vintage video games, all of the action figures, all the Hot Wheels, a lot of it being from the ’70s and ’80s, that will hopefully turn that younger generation into the next collector or customer.

Where do you get your stuff from?

A lot of it does walk right in the front door. I do estate sales. I do a lot of private estate purchasing. I go to auctions, flea markets, even other antique shops for that matter.

Do you like your profession?

My job is like Christmas. Every day I get to open packages, play with things and learn about new stuff and see things from my past.

It’s wonderful. Every day it’s something different.

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502