On the Map: Danielle Junloz and Bob Zaremba Change Careers to Sell Vintage Maps at their Shop in Chatham Cape Cod & Islands Home (Indian Summer 2008) It was during his graduate school days that Bob Zaremba first came across old maps.  He was writing his Ph. D. dissertation, a sprawling treatise on Cape Cod’s sand dune vegetation.  He spent a lot of time doing field work, but there were also visits to the Boston Athenæum and New York Public Library, institutions with historic map collections.  By studying the maps—some dating back to the 1600s—he was able to trace changes in the local shoreline. Bob went on to a career in botany and environmental research. Many years later—after he had quit his job but when retirement was still a ways in the future—he returned to maps. Together with his wife, Danielle Jeanloz, he opened Maps of Antiquity, a store in Chatham that is stocked with more than 4,000 specimens of antique and vintage cartography. Maps seem like the perfect fit for the scholarly and sociable couple.  At first, however, their ambitions were slightly different.  In 2000, they opened an antiques store in Barnstable.  They were not exactly new to the business. They had been part-time dealers for many years, selling the things picked up during their travels.  Although they were active on the regional show circuit, most pieces were sold in the Chatham gift shop that was owned by Bob’s mother.  Whenever she tried to thin out the inventory, he recalls, they’d show up with more treasures.  “In Turkey, we’d buy three rugs instead of just the one for ourselves,” he says. This informal apprenticeship gave them ideas for the future.  Their careers were winding down and they were looking forward to activities that would allow them to spend more time together.  “No matter how good the jobs, we still wanted to enjoy life,” Danielle recalls. At one point, during the busy years, Danielle, who was a sales director at American Airlines, had to relocate to Toronto.  The move entailed a long back-and-forth between the Cape and Ontario every weekend. Another reason they were ready for the change: “After a while, you don’t want to reinvent yourself,” Bob says, referring to the rolling changes in job descriptions and management philosophies. At first, the store was stocked with a little of this and a little of that.  But the all-round antiques shop kept afloat by summer tourism did not seem like a viable business model, especially after the somber 21st century succeeded the heady 1990s. Specialization was the answer. Two years ago, they bought a large stock of maps from a retiring dealer. To this core they added a sideline of ephemera—postcards, posters, and prints that evoke a sense of place. “I’m really interested in ephemera and have done well with it,” says Bob. At Maps of Antiquity, the settlement of Cape Cod and the islands is represented in dozens of engravings and lithographs. Some were published in the years after the American Revolution.  These can sell at surprisingly low prices, sometimes in the low hundreds.  Others are more recent.  If you’re looking for something that shows what Provincetown was like when Grandma was growing up, they have that, too. The Cape Cod theme is so popular that a selection of reproductions is also for sale, in recognition that customers vary in their collecting criteria.  Connoisseurs might fuss over the fine points of antique cartography, but many people are satisfied with just the look; hence the new copies of historic Cape Cod maps priced for under $50. Anything Cape Cod is gold, but the other marketable destinations include Ivy League college towns.  Bob cites the practice of assembling a personal topography montage—say, a nautical chart of Nantucket Sound together with a map of Cambridge and an engraving of Nassau Hall. Also in stock are maps for astronomy, the railroads, navigation, and tax collecting. An 1858 map showing all the properties on Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard is a monument to the government’s fiscal powers in the years before the Civil War. “Maps provide a window into the past.  They offer a connection for everyone to places that they care about,” says Bob. At the time Bob and Danielle were getting established in the antiques trade, they opened a B&B in a wing of their house in Chatham. The house, which they bought in 2000, was part of the downsizing real estate shuffle.  After deciding to focus on maps, they closed the Barnstable store and relocated the business to the commercial space that has been a part of the Chatham house since it was built in the 1770s. Unusual for a couple desiring more “together time,” they welcome, on average, 300 strangers into their home every year. Antiques stores and guesthouses are at the top of the list of post-career occupations, but it’s an idyll that requires a lot of work. “We do a lot of laundry,” Danielle jokes. Then there are the day-to-day tasks that have to be fitted in at the store. Take the cataloging backlog. Danielle estimates that she spends twenty minutes researching, describing, and photographing each map.  So far, she has made her way through only ten percent of the inventory. Framing is Bob’s off-hours job.  He makes certain there are plenty of ready-to-hang pieces in the store.  Customers sometimes hold back from buying, he says, due to the uncertain costs of framing.  In the case of framed maps there are no surprises. But most of the day is spent with the customers, who pop in for a few minutes and, in some cases, stay for hours.  With many dealers focusing on online sales, Maps of Antiquity is one of the only stores for historic cartography.  “Bob is so passionate about what he does,” says Danielle, explaining her husband’s success at drawing out a cerebral and introspective clientele. According to Bob, collectors like maps because they convey information logically and artistically.  Men, especially, appreciate this mix of qualities.  Most sales, in fact, are to men or women shopping for men. “A map makes a great gift for the person who has everything or wants nothing,” he says. “It is timeless because it can be admired and studied for many generations.”
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Amy Gale
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