When I find a really good antique store or mall on our travels, I enjoy sharing these finds with all of our collectors. Our recent antique hunting travels have been to 11 states and last year to England. If you have followed some of our adventures I had presented on these e-pages, you may know I have a pattern of showcasing stores or malls that meet certain criteria.
Our plan for the coming year includes hunting adventures to some of our favorite haunts within a day trip from home, and hopefully taking several days to travel to some we have not ventured into. And that’s where I’m asking for your help, to give me some ideas on where to find the best places you have found on your own travels or in your own area.
I’d like to go through Indiana east to Ohio, visit the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland, then shop for collectibles on the return trip back to Wisconsin, stopping at the Heart of Ohio Mall, and maybe getting down to Louisville. Another thought included the North Eastern states, since it’s been far too long since we combined antique hunting and lobster eating. And naturally Florida is our normal fall trip.
The type of store or mall we look for need not be on the beaten path, just off a freeway. Those locations are usually found with billboards near an exit, but please include them in your replies if you find them to be a worthwhile stop.
To meet my criteria the place must have a good mix of antiques and collectibles. Staff in good stores are attentive, friendly and helpful, readily opening cases and pointing to like items that may interest us. Booths should be clean and clutter free. Stock rotated so that price tags are not faded to the point wjere it’s not readable. Management should limit items to a certain age or if a mall has newer decorative collectibles or reproductions they should be identified as such and taking a minimum of total space, in separate booths.
Recently we made a visit into Northern Illinois, I had some business in Rockford for my real job and dropped Wifey at the newly reopened “Antiques On East State” (5411 E. State, 815-229-4004) just west of I-90 at State Street exit. This mall and its sister store had closed a while back and had been a favorite for many years attracting customers from great distances. We’re glad to see this one reopen.
After my business meeting and a quick lunch,we headed to another of our favorites, a location we first visited a few years ago and have been back to many times. Wifey said I had not mentioned this location, and wondered if I was trying to keep it as my secret.
The Roscoe Antique Mall located in South Beloit, Illinois is just south of the Wisconsin border, on State Hwy. 75 west of I-90 Exit #1.
We were warmly greeted by owner Gaylene, pictured on the left with staffers Jerry and Bert, at the checkout counter. They helped us find some interesting items, opening locked cases to closely inspect pieces of interest. And boy were they kept busy as we both found so many great treasures. Of course we can’t buy everything we see, but it’s educational inspecting antiques and understanding their value in today’s market.
The whole mall meets the requirement for our “A” list, and let me just point out some special booths that caught my interest. Kitsch was the theme in this booth, and while not in our current decorating scheme, I like the look. Antique hanging lamps featured near the check-out area. A Masonic goat used in initiation Ceremonies, everyone needs one of these, sits near the checkout counter in an area of many interesting finds. And other antiques oddities included dental equipment. But that’s what you expect to see in a 20,000 square foot mall with over 100 dealers, with management that only allows items that predate the 1970s, to insure fine items for every collector, every taste, every décor or for the investor looking for a safe investment.
Now I must show you this three chair antique, from a fraternal group and my favorite place to sit while hearing the amount of Wifie’s purchases.