Collecting the past is this couple’s passion

Collecting the past is this couple’s passion

Joe and Jaki Gonzalez are pictured in their shop, Neatful Things.

For Joe and Jaki Gonzalez, Neatful Things, their family-run shop in Palmetto Bay, is a labor of love. Finding interesting things from the past to add to their antiques, vintage and collectable items is more than a business — it’s also fun.

“The fun part and the most interesting part is that you never know what you’re going to come across,” Joe Gonzalez said. “At auctions you never know what’s coming up, and what does come up can really give you a nice surprise. I think of this as a little hidden gem, because the plaza we’re in is hidden in between US1. Once people find us they become long-time customers.”

Near the middle of the “island” that divides S. Dixie Highway, Neatful Things is located at 9847 E. Fern St., where it’s been since September 2014, across from the Goodwill store. Previously it was in the Cutler Bay area.

The Gonzalez family has lived in the area since 2006, near the border between Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay. For Jaki Gonzalez their little shop provides a chance to see old friends and also make new acquaintances who reminisce about the past.

“I see a lot of people I know,” Jaki said. “And I see people that I don’t know that come in and they stay looking at something and it brings a smile to their faces, and they say, ‘You just took me back to this date,’ or ‘I just have to have this piece because it reminds me of a time with my grandmother, with my childhood.’ I get so many compliments all the time.”

The shop is filled with an array of knickknacks, vintage clothing, artwork, lamps and unusual items, all artfully arranged to please the eye. The challenge of doing that is part of what appeals to Jaki.

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