Dutch And Terry Shultz

"Making A Difference"

By: Fred Taylor

The next time you go to an antiques show you probably will see a man standing in front of a book rack wearing an enigmatic smile and a canvas multi-pocket safari type vest. Go introduce yourself to Dutch Shultz. No, not THAT Dutch Schultz - he spelled his name with a “C”, unlike the modern Floridian with the similar name. This Dutch Shultz lives in Gainesville with his wife and partner of 42 years, Terry. Actually they just sort of visit in Gainesville because they spend more than 200 days a year on the road, selling books at antique shows.

Dutch, whose real name is John, met Terry in the mid 1960s in Oxford, Ohio where they both attended college, he at Miami University and she at Western College for Women. After graduation he served 5 years in the Navy, including two all expense paid tours of Southeast Asia. Upon returning to the world Dutch and Terry went to Arizona where he attended graduate school in international business. It seemed like a natural since Terry had been raised abroad, the daughter of an FAA employee stationed in Lebanon and she already had her advanced degree, an MA in Library Science. Then followed a 20 year career in the export business, specializing in industrial machinery.

Somehow they ended up in Bardstown, Kentucky where they were participants in a group type antique shop carrying general merchandise. On a trip back to Ohio in 1989 they met a seller of antiques related reference books and that piqued their interest. With Terry’s library background and Dutch’s interest in primitives and early American pottery, reference books seemed to have a place in their life. They struck a bargain and bought the dealer’s inventory and fixtures but declined his computer program, a wise move as it has turned out. They named the new business “Federal Hill Booksellers” after an antebellum mansion in their Kentucky hometown, known as the place where Stephen Foster wrote “My Old Kentucky Home”.

When you visit Dutch and Terry at a show one of the first things you will notice is the deceptively simple array of bookcases which display their inventory. Some of these cases were acquired with the original inventory 15 years ago. At the end of each show the cases fold up into self contained units and can be wheeled out to the Shultz’ waiting van. It takes them about four hours to set up for a show but only about two to knock it down and hit the road. That’s important when you do fifty or so shows a year as they do.

But the other much more important thing you will notice about the Shultz set up is the attention that Dutch and Terry pay to each inquiry. They have reference books that cover an extremely wide range of subjects and often the hardest problem they have is to decide what the customer is actually looking for before they can point them in the right direction. Sometimes the customer is not even sure what he or she is looking for. That’s where Terry and Dutch excel. They know their inventory, they know the subjects at hand, they know the current market and they know the right questions to ask to narrow down the field.

Being a vendor of reference material requires a slightly different outlook from being an antiques dealer. Certainly a dealer must be aware of changing trends in his particular area of interest and must keep the stock rotated and fresh looking but for the normal dealer a new batch of relevant inventory is not issued on a regular basis. In the case of the Shultz’s, publishers come out with new reference books almost weekly and they must scramble to have the latest material. For this they rely on the wholesale distributors to keep them up to date but even more so they rely on the requests of the customers. If someone asks for a title not currently in stock Dutch and Terry will track it down and send it to the customer or meet up with them at the next show. Since they are constantly on the road, keeping up the inventory also presents an opportunity. In most cases they are in touch so closely with their suppliers that they can order on Monday and have the shipment arrive at the next show venue by Friday. 

What’s hot in reference material? Dutch and Terry see a lot of interest in traditional subjects like Depression glass and Roseville but also see a rising level of demand for material on Arts & Crafts, Venetian glass, contemporary glass and modern furniture. Perhaps they are ahead of the curve as indicators of what people will be interested in collecting in the coming years. Just another way Dutch and Terry Shultz are among the people who are making a difference in the industry.           

About the author:

Fred Taylor's new book "HOW TO BE A FURNITURE DETECTIVE" is now available for $18.95 plus $2.00 S & H. Send check or money order for $20.95 to Fred Taylor, PO Box 215, Crystal River, FL 34423.
Fred and Gail Taylor's video, "IDENTIFICATION OF OLDER & ANTIQUE FURNITURE", ($29.95 includes S & H) is also available at the same address. For more information call (800) 387-6377, fax (352) 563-2916, or e-mail fmtaylor@aol.com.

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