By Marie Defreitas

Earlier this year, The Universe Trading Company, a local antique and salvage store, changed its home of six years on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for a bigger space at 1607 Skidaway Road.

The store’s original location, across the street from Vinnie van Gogo’s Pizzeria, hosted the store for thirty years before it moved to MLK Boulevard. The MLK location was well known but lacked certain amenities such as parking and adequate space for the store’s large amount of inventory. This year the entire block was bought and redone by a local company, making the affordability of rent difficult.

Owner Greg Portman found the new location for the store through a friend who owns several  properties in the area. Portman also grew up in the area and was still quite familiar with it. “This is my playground,” he said of the new location. An added bonus of the new location, Portman said, was the traffic from the nearby Bonaventure Cemetery, a locally famous tourist attraction, which brings in many new faces into the store.

The store is always fully stocked with antique furniture, signs, statues, strange vintage collections, toys, photos and knick-knacks that can strike anybody’s interest. Portman acquires much of his inventory from his connections in Europe, where he ships in many items. He recalled once shipping in a forty foot long container full of items for the store. “I have connections all over the place,” Portman said.

According to Roadtrippers, a national online travel planning site, the store has even been described by Paula Deen as ‘the world’s largest global garage sale’. One of the major attractions of the store is the “wide variety of unusual items,” Portman said. “There’s something for everyone.”