Speeding ticket Brought Nielsen to downtown Columbia.

Published 3:20 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tim Nielsen relaxes inside Maggie Duke's building in downtown Columbia.

Tim Nielsen relaxes inside Maggie Duke’s building in downtown Columbia

An 82 in a 55 speeding ticket.

That is what brought Tim Nielsen to main street Columbia.

“I was on the way out to the beach to visit a girlfriend,” he explained.

Nielsen had to hire a lawyer. He was not going to be at the mercy of someone online he did not know. He drove to Columbia during the day.

“I walked around and said my God this is a beautiful place,” Nielsen recalled.

Nielsen decided that the office of Hornthal, Riley, Ellis & Maland looked like the best place to hire a lawyer.  He asked to speak to the firm’s speeding ticket expert.

“This was about eight years ago. David Gadd was in the back. He explained that he was the one that would take care of that,” Nielsen said.

Gadd took care of the court appearance, and it cost Nielsen quite a bit of money.

Now Nielsen was introduced to the town and wanted to know more.

“Each time when I went out to Frisco, Hatteras Village, or any of those places that I used to go, I would stop and drive around all through Columbia looking for something wrong with this place,” said Nielsen.

Nielsen could not find anything wrong with Columbia.

Then a building became available at 210 Main Street Columbia and was converted into what is now known as Maggie Duke’s Antiques.

Nielsen bought the property in January 2012. He moved to the area last June. He spent the majority of last year remodeling the upstairs section of the building and making the downstairs into a shop.

Nielsen opened his shop in April 2013 and he has distinct criteria for the quality of an item.

“I have been buying and selling antiques since the 1970’s and you just learn a lot,” he said.

Nielsen said that people often do not use current online tools like EBay to judge the true value of a piece of merchandise.

People often just look at what others are asking for a particular item. They do not go and see what an item actually sells for.

“The starting price will be three hundred and ninety dollars. But you can go to the sold listings six months ago and one just like it sold for a much lower price. EBay is full of people who are afraid to sell their merchandise for something too cheap. So they overvalue their merchandise and they cannot sell it at all,” said Nielsen.

With the discovery of antiques also comes the appreciation for things of higher value.

“I like learning. Everything I buy is a gateway to learning about someone or something,” said Nielsen.

It is important in this process not to lose sight of certain things.

For example, there is a difference between the term “antique” and “vintage.”

Antique means legally something that is one hundred years old.

People have misused the word “vintage” however.

“People have used that term to mean something that is old and probably broken,” Nielsen noted.

 Not everything in the shop is strictly “antique.”

A lot of items are from 1940’s and 50’s. They are there because they might be enjoyable or of good quality.

For example kids’ cap guns.

“They are just kind of cool. Everyone likes them and remembers them. I will sell that. I am not a purist,” Nielsen stressed.

Maggie Dukes Antiques has seen a diverse group of visitors. Nielsen expects more people will come as word about the shop spreads.

And while they are here for whatever reason, they might stop and wander through Columbia like Nielsen did.

Perhaps they might find something of value outside of the confines of a shop or restaurant.

“I must have traveled through this town maybe fifty times before I discovered Main Street and how nice it is,” Nielsen said.