After fifteen years at 329 South Main, Alan Freedman took Four Directions in a new direction at the end of March—one block north, to 211 South Main. The move’s been in the works for a couple of years, ever since Freedman found out that his landlord, who already owned the building that housed Four Directions, bought the building next door. “I saw the blueprints,” says Freedman. The plans called for connecting the buildings by breaking through the adjoining walls on the second floor—right above his shop. “I said, boy, we’re going to be out of a home if this ever happens.”

He started looking for a new space, and when the old Voila clothing store opened up in the fall of 2007, he approached the building’s owner about leasing it. The owner offered to sell, not rent, the retail space to Freedman, with plans to turn the upper floors into a condo. When Freeman realized his new mortgage payments would be about half of what he was paying in rent, he jumped on it. And then he sat on it—the new space stayed empty for another year and a half until the lease on his old space ran out in March.

Moving was fairly painless: most of the inventory was transported by van and truck through the alley, and the rest was trundled down the sidewalk on handcarts. “We didn’t even pack up our expensive vases,” laughs Freedman, who is fifty-three. “It was easier just walking them down the street.”

In addition to vases, Four Directions carries collectible fossils, minerals, pottery, gemstone globes, rocks, metal art, jewelry, and more. Collecting rocks and fossils is Freedman’s passion. His wife Karen, also fifty-three, works at Four Directions, too, indulging her own passion by supervising the jewelry, which accounts for about half their sales.

At heart Alan remains a collector. “When we go [on buying trips], I still have my own collection and put aside pieces for myself,” he says. He used to sell every piece he found—and now regrets it. “When I first started off in business, I wish some of them I would have kept.”

Four Directions, 211 S. Main. 996–9250. Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m.