Fields Stable Antiques combine treasures and treats for customers
By Kyle Mooty
Much like the owner’s famous cheesecakes, Fields Stable Antiques continues adding to its grand reputation as an assortment of goodies for treasure hunters.
The Lockhart business has been in operation for 11 years, withstood the worst the COVID-19 pandemic had to offer, maintained its employees, yet continues to thrive, all the while serving up delicious treats, particularly a variety of Karen Cernoch’s homemade cheesecakes she makes for visitors to the 118 N. Main Street location during the monthly First Friday events.
For a store where everything from furniture, knickknacks, clothing, fishing gear, ceramics, copper, bronze and more make up its collection, it’s the food item she brings each month that have some flocking to her store.
“I started doing cheesecakes in this building 10 years back,” Cernoch said. “I started with two cheesecakes, now I’m up to 13. I wanted to give appreciation for our customers. Without them I wouldn’t be open. It’s not enough to just get them in the door. I want to get them back. That’s why I decided to do cheesecakes.”
Originally from the Boston area in Massachusetts, Karen and her military husband, Mike Cenoch, were stationed at different locations, including Hawaii. Working as an accountant in Hawaii, Cernoch said anytime the business had a function she would be asked to make her cheesecake. She told her boss once that she wanted to try something else and her boss replied, ‘You’re making cheesecake.’
Cernoch had antiques in her blood, having grown up with a mother who had such a store. Even her father dealt with antique cars.
“I’ve done this type of business all my life,” she said. “The whole family grew up with it. My two oldest brothers had a store. My sister had a store. My kid brother had a store. I had never lived in one place long enough to have a store, although I would rent spaces and such. I did that in Maryland.
“Then one day my husband said to me, ‘I think I wanna move home.’ I looked at him and said ‘Mike, you feeling OK? “’ got to tell you, not once in my life did I ever say to myself I want to move to Texas.’”
Mike Cernoch was originally from Corpus Christi. He planned a trip for he and Karen so he could show her Texas.
“We checked out Wimberley and San Marcos and a realtor told us all about Lockhart and how many people come through for the barbecue,” Karen Cernoch said. “She kept saying, ‘Don’t discount Lockhart.”
The Cernochs drove over to Lockhart one day and looked around.
“We didn’t have a house or anything yet, but we rented a building that used to be the Quirky Bird,” Karen recalled. “I rented it for storage. My husband and son drove here and had 500 boxes. The second bunch arrived when I moved here.”
In the early going, Fields Stable Antiques only had Cernochs’ new neighbors as customers. Some asked what two days she would be closing.
“That just totally amazed me,” Cernoch said. “I’m thinking to myself I’m in the process of trying to open, why would I be thinking of closing. I just told them I would open to start seven days a week and as soon as I can find out two days to close, I would close. Eleven years in and I haven’t found two days to close.
“I learned watching traffic here that the barbecue places are open seven days a week. I talked to somebody at another business and they told me on Sundays they never had any business. Well, my Sundays are really good. So, I’ve been open seven days ever since. Some days I takeoff mornings but then I’m here in the afternoon. My birthday was the other day and I said I was going to take off the whole day. I took off that morning but came in and worked all afternoon.”
Even the early days of the pandemic couldn’t stop Cernoch. She closed for a month but had her two employees come in as usual to clean. The store re-opened May 1, 2020, and though business was slow at first, it soon became business as usual.
“I have not had any problems,” she said. “We were closed for a few days when we hit snow and ice.”
Fields Stable Antiques does not focus on one style of product. Cernoch said the store always has different merchandise to offer.
The 9,000-square foot facility has much of Cernoch’s stuff as well as items from 14 vendors who have 10-foot by 10-foot spaces they rent.
Among the most unique items iat Fields Stable Antiques included a lamp from the early 1900s from Moorish Spain. It books for as much as $12,500, but that’s not what Cernoch is asking. Also, at one point there was a 1930s radio for sale that had to warm up after it was turned on, but it worked, nevertheless. “That sold well,” Cernoch said.
“Every day of every week of every month is different. I sell a lot of jewelry, I sell a lot of breakables, I sell a fair amount of furniture, lots of China, porcelain, brass, copper, cast-aluminum, cast-iron, rod-iron. Some things the more rust, the better. They’re like people. I sell old tools.”
Cernoch said she is “68-years-young” and is the “youngest 68-year-old you’ll ever meet.”
The only month she doesn’t provide her sought-after cheesecakes are December, and even then, she bakes sweets for customers.
Regulars are so used to Cernoch’s sarcasm they have brought her a bevy of signs regarding her sarcastic ways that adorn the store’s walls around the main counter. Cheesecake and treasures even make sarcasm a favored moment.