Antique business to open in Sykesville caboose SOUTHEAST--Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber

A river trader is coming to Sykesville to open a business on the rails.

Bob Dubinski plans to splash on some paint, plug the leaks and renovate the town's red caboose for his antiques and collectibles business.


He'll add a platform before he welcomes customers aboard the Red River Trader, where he will peddle cowboy and American Indian items and Civil War memorabilia.

"I will have leather goods, Indian blankets, saddles and buffalo horns," he said. He also has some buffalo furniture, including a chair with horned arms.


Until he opens the caboose business in a few weeks, his inventory is in storage at his Marriottsville home.

Mr. Dubinski, 42, has spent most of his life in Carroll County. He recently left a construction job with Giant Foods to open his trading company.

"I want to see this town turn into another Ellicott City," he said. "It's just as beautiful here and the perfect place for a new business."

Renovation of the 10-by-24-foot car should be minimal, he said. The town will take care of any exterior work. The interior only needs "touching up," he said.

DTC Martin Hill, a Hampstead building contractor, had used the caboose for his Hampstead office until he donated it to the town about three years ago. "All we had to do was pay to get it here from Hampstead," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher.

Mr. Schumacher said he has seen the cars used for restaurants, museums and motels.

"This is an old dream the town has had for years," said Mr. Schumacher. "We have been trying to interest a retailer to rent the caboose since we got it."

After Mr. Hill's donation, the town decided to try to obtain two more cabooses. Mr. Schumacher said Sykesville put the word out: "Send us your used cabooses."


Another donated railroad car -- a blue one -- soon came rolling in. It remains "just up the tracks a bit," he said. "We are hoping to get CSX [Railroad] to move it near the red one."

Mr. Schumacher envisions an all-American retail district on the rails, which run through town. With red and blue cabooses on the tracks, he is hoping the town will find a white one somewhere.

"The timing is right for Mr. Dubinski's shop, too," said Mr. Schumacher.

"We have several thriving businesses on Main Street. Caboose stores would fit right into the motif of Sykesville as a railroad town."

Mr. Dubinski and the town are still ironing out a few details, such as rent and an exact address.