For the past 26 years, Paul Edwards has been a physical trainer who works with clients in their homes in the Princeton-Hopewell area to lose weight and get in better shape. For the past five months, Edwards has owned and operated Hamilton’s Treasure, a family-run clothing, consignment and cigar shop on Route 33 in Hamilton.
On the surface the two parts of his life seem incongruous. In reality, it is a classic example of being the sum of your experiences.
“I grew up in New Egypt near a flea market,” Edwards said. “I couldn’t get it out of my system.”
He was doing flea markets in Lambertville for awhile, but that proved time consuming with setting up and packing it all up each time. With his daughter, Marissa, graduating from college, the timing was right to expand into a regular shop. While Edwards meets with physical training clients during the week, Marissa runs the shop weekdays; and his wife, Carmen, runs the shop on Saturdays. Edwards is in the shop on Sundays from 11 to 4. Their son, also named Paul, helps when he is home from Rutgers.
“I need his muscles,” Edwards said.
Edwards has long-time personal training clients who are downsizing the amount of items in their homes, and in their parents’ homes. Edwards found himself telling them he could get it for them.
In November 2016, Edwards purchased the garage where DiFranco’s Pipe and Tobacco Shop operated for 60 years. He originally had no intention of selling cigars, but people kept coming in for them. Rather than fighting it, Edwards added cigar sales to his business.
Edwards cites the popularity of History Channel shows such as “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars,” featuring people discovering bargains at yard sales, for the surge in popularity of consignment shops.
“Amazon.com has put retail shops out of business, but ours is a browsing kind of thing,” Edwards said.
Customers never know what they might find in his shop. Recently, he had a wood boat statue and a ship wheel.
Edwards always has new merchandise. He has “fine items,” as he calls them, in his house, his garage and his truck. That doesn’t stop him from accepting more.
“Bring in 10 items at a time, make sure clothes are dry cleaned first, and that everything is clean,” Edwards said. “If it is not good, we’ll tell you right away. We take a 50/50 consignment when you split.”
There are no fees.
In addition to selling in the store, Edwards also sells items on online sites such as eBay and Amazon in order to reach a nationwide audience. It increases the potential for good items, he said. Around the 15th of each month, he sends everyone who earned more than $10 a check. Those under $10 are rolled over into the next month.
“I’m helping people get rid of items, which makes people feel better,” Edwards said. “Hamilton’s Treasure is for treasure sellers and treasure seekers. For buyers, it is a great place for them to find things because we price less, you will always find a good deal, plus there are coupons and discounts. We never price our fine items at retail.”
Hamilton’s Treasure tries to sell each item for 90 days, they mark down clothing after 45 days. If an item doesn’t sell in that time frame, someone contacts you to see if you want to pick it up from them, or if you would like them to donate it to charity.
As for the clothing side of the business, Edwards takes name brand and designer clothes, newer clothes as well as vintage clothing drycleaned and in great shape. He also carries men’s clothing, including skateboard line clothing and men’s suits. Hamilton’s Treasure does not accept wedding gowns and prom dresses.
Hamilton’s Treasure is located at the rear of 797 Route 33 in Hamilton. Phone: (609) 586-1111.