Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lighting restorer moves to Midway, where he had trade

A wide variety of lights hangs in Setzer's Chandelier and Restoration Shop. (Photos by Claire Johnson)
Alex Hein moved his shop from Lexington and renamed it.
By Claire Johnson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Restoring antiques to their original form is nothing new for Alex Hein, owner of Setzer’s Chandelier and Restoration Shop, which opened Nov. 1 at 120 E. Main St.

In fact, reviving household antiques is more like a family tradition for Hein, since his family has been in the antique business for as long as he can remember.

Hein said most people might know him from his business, previously named Mirror and Brassworks and located in Lexington, where he is from. He lives in Cynthiana, but chose Midway as the best location for his shop.

A customer had pointed out an open space in Midway in the summer, and Hein took the opportunity to revive his shop with a new location and a new name.

“I have been in business for twenty years doing this. I’ve had a lot of customers in this town,” Hein said. “And honestly, I just really like the town.” His new location allows for people to get in and out of town easily to pickup and drop off items, he said.

The shop opened Nov. 1 and is decorated for Christmas.
A great location and love for the town were not the only reasons Hein made his move. “There’s a lot of older generations [in Midway] that deal with brass, copper, and silver and that have it to restore,” he said. “Some of the horse farms here I do a lot of work for, and generally because Midway is so historic.”

One of his most memorable restorations was on the historic 1850s John Graham House near Midway, featured in the May/June 2011 edition of Sophisticated Living Magazine. The owner of the house at the time, Kim Morris, said Hein is one of the few people who are passionate about what they do.

“His restoration knowledge and experience has found him in a niche that needed to be filled.” Morris said, “We are lucky to have a specialty business like his available to us in our community.”

Hein no longer does mirrors but still works with brass.
Hein said he has done work on many of the historic houses in Midway over the last 10 years.

Eric and Ellen Gregory of South Winter Street hired Hein for a large project on her great grandparents’ historic house in Metcalfe County, untouched since 1909.

“In the attic, we found all of the original gas lights.” Eric Gregory said. “We took one to him when he was over in Lexington and his eyes lit up.” He said they were so blown away that he could restore them, they decided to bring Hein dozens more. “He’s a true craftsman,” Gregory said. “With his level of excellence for a fair price, you just keep coming back.”

Hein said he can restore and fix chandeliers, as well as any type of lighting or rewiring a customer may need. The shop also sells restored, antique fixtures, lighting and antique fireplace accessories.

In conjunction with the move to Midway, Hein said he wanted to change the name of the company completely. “I don’t do anything with mirrors anymore and I haven’t in a long time,” he said, “so I wanted to change the name totally.” The new name, “Setzer,” is German for setting prices or a market inspector.

Since people in the community already know of his work, Hein said he has already seen a good response from the town. Some new clients have even brought items in for him to restore or fix.

“Midway is such a town of renaissance and craft and artists,” Gregory said. “I think he’ll be appreciated here.”

Hein’s reason for repairing antiques is simple according to him: He just enjoys it. “You can take stuff that looks like it should be thrown in the trash and make it look like a million bucks.”

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