As his passion started blossoming into a healthy side business, friends began to ask him to look out for specific china pieces and patterns on his buying trips. Bob found that he had inadvertently stumbled upon a gaping hole in the market—nobody else was specializing in antique dinnerware and replacement pieces on a large scale. Seeing an opportunity to turn his passion into a career, Bob took the leap. “I was working for the state, and we audited health departments. Nobody was glad to see you, so, basically, it was a thankless job. I really just wanted to do something for a living that I thought was fun.”
In 1981, Bob quit his job and officially launched Replacements, Ltd., with just one part-time assistant. Thirty-four years later, he oversees a staff of almost 400 employees. “I never envisioned this would grow like it has or that there would be the demand like we’ve experienced for some of these old patterns,” he says.