When Tom Harding is looking for hunting and fishing equipment, his first stop is Carter's Trading Post on Park Lane (Route 202) in New Milford.

Mr. Harding is a regular there, stopping in nearly daily to get first dibs, on a vintage duck decoy or a nearly new rod and reel.

"I shop at the trading post and put some items in there for sale," Mr. Harding said. "I sell at the flea markets, myself."

"In all my dealings with Kelly (Carter), he's been very fair," he added. "He'll always give you the best deal he can."

Owner Kelly Carter opened Carter's Trading Post, near the Midway Market, in September.

He calls it "a store of the people" and says business has grown and thrived via word of mouth.

From an authentic butcher's block for $300 to a National Washboard of glass and wood for $13, the Trading Post offers a range of items, both vintage and new.

"What I ask is for folks to take stuff they have around the house, and don't use and let us make money on it for them," Mr. Carter said.

If a local buyer can't be found, Internet sales through Carter's often bring buyers from Brazil to Bangkok, he said.

"We can help collectors find items," Mr. Carter said. "We have one collector whose interest is cameras. As soon as a new camera comes in, we contact him to give him first look."

He said more than 100 collectors are registered with the store.

Mr. Carter's partner, Rachel Bennett, is quick to add Carter's is not a consignment shop or an antique shop. It's a trading post in the old-fashioned sense of the term.

Although items can be found like a vintage Haut Bauer bird collection cut-glass oval bowl, even those go for reasonable prices, she said. Asking price for the bowl is $85.

"If it's old, new or cool, we want it," Mrs. Bennett said. "We've even sold some classic cars for people."

Flyers are handed out to shoppers stopping by the trading post, letting them know what items people are looking for.

"My grandmother, Ethel Prince, had the Browse Around Shop in New Milford for years," Mr. Cartersaid. "This has always been a passion for me. I love doing it."

Mr. Carter owned and ran a barn board restoration business next to the Northville Market for years. He created and sold birdhouses, Adirondack chairs, benches and old farm cabinets there.

And with the workshop and wood supply still in place, he still creates pieces on special order.

For more photos, visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.

Carter's Trading Post, at 92 Park Lane (Route 202) in New Milford, is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Email photos of items for consideration to carterstradingpost@yahoo.com or call 860-671-8305 to arrange viewing and consideration for sale.

Photos by Norm Cummings