As small retailers across The City stock up for the holiday season, Phyllis Nabhan, owner of Gaslight & Shadows Antiques on Clement Street, is paring down 40 years of collectibles, preparing to close shop. Permanently.

“There used to be 20 antiques dealers on the street,” she said, pointing toward the door while moving her arm from east to west. “I’m the last one.”

An astronomical rent increase is the reason she’s leaving, but Nabhan is neither disappointed nor hesitant about the decision; rather she’s resigned, following six years of steady rent increases and the movement toward online collecting. Nevertheless when I arrived at the store, it was packed tight with treasures sourced from every era and port of call, as well as with shoppers.

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One thought on “The last antiques store on Clement Street

  1. Isabella
    November 24, 2019

    I never come looking for anything specific but I know I ll always find something, said longtime customer Monica Gonzalez, who like Nabhan was San Francisco born and raised, though decades apart. Both shopkeeper and customer remembered the brisk antiques trade in town and spoke of long-gone vendors in the Avenues and South of Market. I listened closely as Gonzalez asked Nabhan how she started collecting. She d have me in her living room, and there were rugs, doilies, beautiful mahogany furniture and lamps and she would teach me about antiques. She gave me a beautiful gold cameo hand-carved in Italy. I would dream about having more. I still have it in a safe deposit box, she said.

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