In 1984, Bob purchased the property (which includes his 15 room Federalist home). The tumble-down barn was slated for official demolition by the Rowley Fire Department. Instead, Bob undertook to salvage the historical structure, doing most of the labor himself, relying on a carpentry manual and input from local farmers whose advice (asked for or not) proved valuable.
Because of his love for antiques, Bob’s plan was to open an antique shop in his barn. The nearby Rowley marshes inspired the name Salt Marsh Antiques (appropriately the shop features a unique display of rare, locally crafted bog shoes worn 200 years ago by horses when salt marsh hay was harvested). Bob thought he’d run the business for perhaps 10 years before moving on.
Opened in 1986, The store flourished, becoming notable for the quality and range of merchandise. In 1999, it was decided to expand the business and an addition was built, more than doubling the floor space. Today, over 30 dealers fill the 3 floors with a tantalizing, constantly revolving inventory of antiques appealing to a broad range of customers, whether they are collectors, dealers, decorators or shoppers in search of a special gift or that perfect item for their home. Choices include fine period antiques, fine furniture and rugs, books and art, fireplace equipment and antique tools, nostalgic toys and collectibles, jewelry and silver, china and pottery. In short, something for everyone!
Asked to explain the success of Salt Marsh Antiques, Bob cites the friendly atmosphere and ability to keep up with current trends, saying, “Antiques are not just used furniture and we respect our customers’ taste and interest in quality antiques.” However, the success of the shop is largely attributable to Bob Cianfrocca’s obvious enthusiasm and hands-on style of running his business. Salt Marsh Antiques is open 7 days a week (closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas), welcoming all to explore and shop a remarkable selection of fine antiques.