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Wise antique buyer works garage sales

Stored under In the News on December 20, 2007 at 6:38 AM
When Steve Segner goes to a garage sale, he doesn't pinch pennies. "Like that table over there. I paid $1,200 for it. But it's a Stickley so it was a real deal."

Steve owns and operates a quaint and cozy adobe-style hotel in Sedona with his wife, Connie. It's a small place, with only 12 rooms, but it's extremely well-appointed with top-notch furnishings and accessories. I could tell, however, these things - with their unique patina and historic character - couldn't be recent store purchases. There was clearly more adventure involved in acquiring these treasures.

My husband and I went to Sedona for a bit of hiking, relaxation and, yes, garage saling. I chose the El Portal Hotel, not knowing the owner was an avid garage saler.

I sauntered into the hotel lobby with its stone fireplace and interesting accessories just before dawn in search of my first cup of coffee when I spotted Steve reading the paper. I just had to know.

"Do you garage sale?"

"Oh, yes. Just about everything you see in this hotel comes from garage sales and flea markets," he told me enthusiastically. I knew it!

We shared stories of our favorite finds - mine is a 7-foot-tall iron candelabrum I got at a garage sale in Scottsdale for $10. Steve's favorite finds involve more money . . . a lot more. He knows quality when he sees it and isn't afraid to spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, on rare finds.

The native Californian has worked long hours in various ventures - including the newspaper and pet-food industries - but would always make time to go to garage sales. He bought so much, in fact, he had to buy a warehouse in which to store everything. "We collect and collect. And friends would come over to the house and say, 'You know, you have 14 lamps in your living room. So, we had our stuff everywhere."

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