Ken and Brenda Mooney spent nearly 40 years together collecting a vast array of unique items and artwork, and now they are sharing that collection.
The couple, retired teachers from the Valley, opened Bootleg Alley Antiques & Art in August in the old Pieper Saloon on the north side of West Main Street, at the corner of McLane Road.
"We bought the building in March and worked on it off and on," Brenda said. "This building is wonderful. It is just what we wanted. It's historic and it's on a main street."
The shop is their first venture in business. But they are well prepared with an inventory so vast they have it stored in a number of different spots.
"We've been collecting fine art for years," Brenda said, "And now we are picking and choosing what to hang in the shop for sale." They have an extensive collection of Native American art and some of it is available for purchase.
Ken has a stein collection and built a bar to the left of the shop's entrance to showcase it and pay tribute to the building's history as a saloon.
They love old phones and have lots of hats and purses and decorative vases.
Ken will be bringing in a variety of sports collections, including putters.
"I don't golf, I see them as sculptures," he said. Other sports collections will appeal to fishermen, tennis players and cross country skiers. He also will be putting his woodworking tool collection up for sale.
They also have lots of books and all kinds of children's things, including an assortment of Raggedy Ann dolls.
The furniture in the shop is largely mid-century modern.
Come the holiday season, Brenda will bring out her Hallmark collectible ornaments, seasonal linens and tableware.
"We're really going to do it up for Christmas," she said.
While the Mooneys spent their professional lives in the Phoenix area, neither are strangers to Payson or the Rim Country. Both have been coming to the area since they were children and can remember when the road between the Valley and Payson was still mostly a dirt road.
With the purchase of the building, the Mooneys made the move to become full-time residents of the area, first living next to the shop. They have since moved to a different home and are making plans to expand the store to the side of the building, where they used to live, and into the back, where there are several little rooms.
Moving into a historic building has its challenges.
First, much of the building is made of adobe.
"Finding the studs in the walls was quite a challenge," Ken said. "But once I found one, I was able to find the others about every 16 inches."
The couple pulled up the carpet in the center room to expose the wood floor underneath.
Having an old building with lots of history, the retired schoolteachers find they are still teaching, sharing the story of their shop's origins. And they are still learning, as people familiar with the place in earlier times come in and tell them about it.
Bootleg Alley Antiques and Art is at 520 W. Main St. in Payson. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Thursday and Sunday. For more information, call (928) 472-4323.