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Department of State

NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State

Spotlights
Fennick Studio Props: Bringing Authenticity to the Big Screen

New Jersey is now home to one of the busiest film and television prop rental houses in the Northeast: Fennick Studio Props. But just how Fennick got here, and what they now offer, is a story in itself.

During the 1980s, twin brothers Rob and Ron Fennick shared a passion for buying and selling high-end antiques at the famous New York flea markets. Occupying three tables at a time they were stand-outs, earning a reputation for carrying desirable hard-to-find items like the $4,000 Louis Vuitton trunk purchased by Molly Ringwald.

Ron Fennick
Ron Fennick

“Shortly after that, my brother opened up an antique shop in lower Manhattan called Lot 76. At the time I began working sales in the shoe industry in Italy, and every weekend I would shop at the flea markets across Europe and send items back to my brother,” recalled Ron.

As the years passed, their reputation grew. Lot 76 was frequented not only by celebrities and antique enthusiasts, but by artists, photographers, and stylists seeking authenticity and inspiration for their projects. There was a whole world to be discovered within their unusual and extensive inventory.

As the demand for space increased, the brothers sought a New Jersey location that would allow them to expand while remaining close to their clients in New York City.

When his brother passed away in 2011, Ron kept the business going. However, it wasn’t until a chance 2014 meeting at an antique show with set decorator Alyssa Winter, whose extensive film and television credits include “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull,” “Oceans 8,” and “West Side Story,” that his perspective began to change. Ron became convinced that renting his inventory as props would fill a significant void in the production industry. Alyssa introduced Ron to Set Decorator Rena DeAngelo, who immediately rented his props for Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies.” And Fennick Studio Props was born.

“It was very exciting to realize the inventory that we had amassed was filling a need. Television programs, films, commercials, theatrical productions and music videos were all digging into our period-specific props, that spanned the 1930’s to the 1980’s and beyond. These artists appreciated that we took the time to invest in large quantities of props such as tanker desks to fill an entire office and Herman Miller benches numerous enough to fill an entire airport,” explains Ron.

Fennick Warehouse in Passaic
Fennick Warehouse in Passaic

Fennick’s 80,000 square foot space on Market Street in Passaic, just 30 minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel, is packed floor to ceiling with inventory. Ron Fennick and Christina Brady, Director of Sales, answer client’s questions and will track down any period-correct props that are needed but not in inventory. Each new item is photographed, catalogued and uploaded to an easily-accessible website. One detail that makes Fennick stand out is their effort to deliver props in top working condition. An engineer is on call for such tasks, including getting a vintage jukebox to light up and function before it leaves the warehouse. Fennick’s team can also have props packed and prepared for shipment as needed, to ensure the antiques arrive in great condition.

Fennick Props complete the scene in 'West Side Story'
Fennick Props complete the scene in "West Side Story"

Due to the recent uptick in New Jersey production, clients have been plentiful. Higher Ground Productions, a company founded by Michelle and Barack Obama, recently produced Netflix’s “Rustin,” a feature film which tells the story of gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin who helped organize the 1963 March on Washington. For the film, set director Amy Wells dashed through the Fennick warehouse filling up an entire tractor trailer with items ranging from over 200 folding chairs to period street lights. The very same day, that rig was on the road and headed to set. Some notable New Jersey projects that utilized Fennick props include “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Eatontown, Maplewood and Oceanport), “Armageddon Time” (Bayonne, Jersey City and Teaneck), and “West Side Story” (Newark and Paterson).

Ron takes a lot of pride in his company’s continuing success, emphasizing that “we love finding incredible antiques. And as the industry in this area continues to grow and expand, we are excited about what the future brings.”

 

 


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