By Becky Wessels
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer
There is no big sign on the street marking its location. The front entrance is actually on the side of the building and can be driven past without notice. However, Oddities and Such, an antique store owned and operated by Richard Watts, is about to celebrate its 13th anniversary on July 4.
At Oddities and Such, located at 501 W. Main St., Watts has been selling all sorts of antiques, used furniture and unusual items for the past 13 years in the store that his father built in 1948. The other half of the building is occupied by Ink Spot Copy Shop.
“I’ve been doing this about 18 years,” Watts said. For five years, he would sell antiques at a flea market where Carolina Fitness is located. He decided to move into the store property since his family owned the space.
Watts said he prefers to sell “items from the 1950s, lamps and waterfall furniture.”
Watts does not stock the store with extremely expensive items but with things he thinks are reasonably priced.
“I have fair prices on fair things. I look for different, unusual things,” Watts said.
Watts, who has lived in Carrboro his entire life, can’t believe he has been operating Oddities and Such for so long. “I’m just surprised that I’ve been here 13 years,” Watts said. “My life revolved around three years, and then things would change.”
At one point, Watts, who had spent three years in the army at Fort Bragg, was training to become a law enforcement agent. He stayed in the program until the last course, which dealt with stress.
“I took all these tests, and the teachers came back and said, ‘Don’t go into law enforcement,’” Watts said. “It was for the best; I enjoy this much more.”
Watts likes to travel outside the area to shop for antiques. “I try not to do yard sales or local thrift shops,” Watts said. He said South Carolina is one of his favorite spots, and he has nicknames from the places he frequently visits. “One place, they started calling me Chapel Hill,” Watts said, smiling.
Before becoming Oddities and Such, the building Watts’ father built more than 60 years ago had been a fast-food restaurant, a laundry and a self-service gas station in 1969. For a while, only half of the building was occupied by Ink Spot Copy Shop, until Watts moved in.
Except for Mondays and Tuesdays when Oddities and Such is closed, Watts is always at his store.
“This year, two weekends ago was the first time I had to call in sick,” Watts said. “I was really disappointed, but I couldn’t get up. I try to be here all the time.”
Watts has enjoyed running his shop.
“You have some place to go. That’s so important for me, having someplace to go and to do something with my hands,” Watts said. He repairs the antiques he buys.
Watts doesn’t plan on closing his store anytime soon.
“People change, and people move. I’m one of the few things that have stayed the same,” Watts said. “And I’ll be here until it’s time to leave.”