Looking back, it’s clear that Tom and Marilyn Tubbs were destined to have a long relationship with Nevada County.
It started in the 1980s with camping trips when the history buffs noticed the area was rich with the antiques and old books they enjoyed collecting.
It wasn’t long before they could no longer resist the call to Nevada County and left Sonoma for a cozy miner’s cabin in Peardale where their neighbors were local historians David and Ardis Comstock, who held monthly book sales - in their barn.
And then the prospect of a new life would coincidentally solidify their relationship with Nevada County.
“We had books and antiques stored away in our one-room cabin,” Marilyn said recently. “Then, I got pregnant and we had to find a storage unit but back then there was a five-year waiting list.”
So instead of renting a storage unit, they leased retail space at 418 Broad St. for about the same price. Later, the couple made one more move before setting down what would become deep roots in Nevada City.
“We were in that location for four years before we got the opportunity to buy our current location from Stan Miller, creator of the Nevada City Bicycle Classic, in 1985,” Tom said.
Now, Tom and Marilyn Tubbs are celebrating 35 years in business this November at Main Street Antiques at 214 ½ Main St., which is next to the Firehouse #1 Museum just up from Robinson Plaza.
Main Street’s initial focus was on Western history books but over the years the inventory has grown to include vintage pop culture, LPs, local photos, antiques, lights and vintage signs for a local and regional customer base.
A big part of their business is to travel the trade circuit where a sharp eye and keen sense of value are essential. Bud and Sally Bassett of Grass Valley, who sold rare, antique advertising signs in their barn, were instrumental in teaching the couple that part of the business, Tom said.
“Bud really helped us focus and mentored us in the trade show circuit realm, which has been very enjoyable and a great way to meet people and promote Nevada City,” he said. “We get many of our trade show friends who visit Nevada City for the first time as a result of our promoting the town while we are on the road.”
As the couple celebrates 35 years of doing business in downtown Nevada City, they recently made a unique acquisition – even for those in the antique or old book industry.
Main Street Antiques now has more than 200 area high school yearbooks, including from Nevada City and Grass Valley, that date back to the 1890s.
“It’s very unusual to find more than just a few yearbooks at a time,” Marilyn said. “We are very fortunate to be able to offer our customers the choice of over 200.”
Main Street Antiques is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Appointment can be made by calling 530-277-7949 or 530-272-7949.