Calming people’s fear of creating is part of the expertise Linda Fortier has developed over 20 years of running Antiquers Supply, located in Pointe-Saint-Charles. Linda and her partner James Leech serve furniture makers, carpenters, decorators, restorers, contractors, a growing number of artists – anyone with a project and the ubiquitous latest movie being filmed in town. “Everybody has a talent to create so we get all kinds of people,” says James. He is the technical expert, the researcher complementing Linda’s sharp people skills, though both are knowledgeable about the products.
Confidence plays a key role when Linda has to judge how uneasy an inexperienced a client is. When advising how to proceed with a project ,such as restoring a family heirloom, “I listen, I feel it out. I once had a client who was terrified about restoring an armoir, she wanted her son to do it, she didn’t have the confidence. I told her to start by stripping the piece first, and come back and decide about the stain after.”
Like Montreal’s antiques dealers, Antiquers Supply adapted to the economic recession that caused Montreal’s antiques industry to dwindle about twenty years ago. “The real money was in selling to Americans,” says James, “they would export truckloads.” The antiques business now makes up only five percent of their clientele.