Discovering Treasures Through Time: The Story of Old Town Antiques on Main Street Hornell

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The Tomeno Family has operated the “time capsule” since 2019

By: Johanna Elattar

Nestled on Main Street in the heart of Hornell stands a beacon of nostalgia and history: Old Town Antiques. With its charming exterior and intriguing interior, this antique store is more than just a shopping destination; it’s a journey through time and a testament to the enduring allure of the past.

Stepping into Old Town Antiques is like stepping into a time capsule. From rustic relics to automotive memorabilia, from primitive artifacts to elegant jewelry, the store boasts a diverse array of treasures waiting to be discovered. But what truly sets this establishment apart is the passion and dedication of its owner, Joe Tomeno, who graciously shared the store’s story with us.

Joe Tomeno, along with his wife Earnestine and daughters Emily, and Sarah, is the heart and soul of Old Town Antiques. A familiar face in the community, Joe’s journey with the store began over a decade ago when he started working here, primarily focusing on furniture repair. Little did he know that his path would lead him to become the proud owner of this beloved establishment.

Old Town Antiques has a rich history of its own. Formerly known as Erie Line Antiques, the store underwent a transformation when Joe Tomeno acquired it from Brian and Virginia Martin in 2019. Brian and Virginia had lovingly curated the store for over 15 years, leaving behind a legacy that Joe was eager to continue.

But the history of Old Town Antiques doesn’t end there. The building itself has stories to tell, having once housed the renowned Tuttle & Rockwell department store. Today, it stands as a multi-level structure brimming with treasures, each corner offering a glimpse into a bygone era.

When asked about the source of the store’s eclectic inventory, Joe Tomeno revealed the secret behind Old Town Antiques’ unique charm. “We get donations, buy items at garage sales, and frequent estate sales,” he explained. It’s this constant influx of new finds that keeps customers coming back, never knowing what hidden gem they might stumble upon.

But beyond the merchandise, Joe emphasized that Old Town Antiques offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. “It’s not just about the items,” he remarked. “It’s about the connections we make with our customers.” Situated in a prime location on Main Street, the store serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.

As I spoke with Joe Tomeno amidst the antique treasures that fill his store, it became evident that Old Town Antiques is more than just a business; it’s a labor of love. With each item carefully curated and every customer interaction cherished, this charming establishment continues to weave its story into the fabric of Hornell’s history.

So the next time you find yourself strolling down Main Street, take a step back in time and pay a visit to Old Town Antiques. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or simply seeking a glimpse of days gone by, you’re sure to find something special amidst the treasures that await within these storied walls.


Johanna Elattar is a Hornell based writer who enjoys local business features and community event stories. She also has written many interesting national stories with local connections. Contact her anytime for story ideas or a kind word, hauntedhill@yandex.com

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