Finding reputable antique stores can be a difficult task, though with a bit of research and persistence, you will be able to find antique stores that sell and buy at competitive rates. The best way to begin a search for reputable antique stores is to first learn as much as possible about the item you are considering buying or selling. Try to find out its origins, how much it is worth, and so on, and once you have determined its worth, compare your knowledge to that of the antiques dealer in question. He or she should offer a similar price and know as much, if not more, than you about that item.
Visit the showrooms of various antique stores and note what types of items are being sold there. Some antique stores sell a few nice pieces surrounded by mostly junk, while others deal only in true antiques that are high end. Ask the owners or managers questions about the pieces for sale, as well as questions about their sources for purchasing antiques. The attendants should have sufficient knowledge of the antiques as well as reasonable pricing structures that are competitive with market values. Don't be afraid to ask about return policies as well, as most reputable stores will have some sort of policy in place for returns.
A good resource for researching reputable antique stores is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. You will be able to look up the antique stores you are considering and read about any complaints that have been lodged against the store. Remember that the store is not necessarily a bad place if a complaint has been lodged against it, but it is a warning sign that the store may not be the best place to deal with. Read about the specific complaints, and pay special attention to complaints about price gouging, fraud, and other common headaches involved with antique dealing.
Many cities and towns have collector's clubs that can give you specific recommendations as to which stores are the best to deal with. Carefully consider the recommendations and combine those recommendations with your own research before settling on a particular store. If possible, have a member of the club who has expertise in a specific area help value any pieces you are considering selling or buying so you have a better idea of what a reasonable price would be for that piece. Be as educated as possible about the antique you are considering so you are prepared when you enter an antiques store.