With Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville, Kentucky has a great tradition of hospitality and many very nice antique stores to make it a worthwhile collectible hunting location unto itself. I have spent many hours browsing antique shop isles and booths in Louisville, always wishing I had a whole week to devote just to the surrounding area. In past visits we have perused the funky Joe Ley Antiques, the Schumann Antiques where we purchased a wonderful hand painted vase that several of our guests have tried to buy or steal and The Antique Market at Distillery Commons plus others in the past.
First, I have great news for all collectors that have visited the Louisville Antique Mall over its past 25 years of serving the collecting and decorating community. The mall has moved into a restored Deco era building at 834 E. Broadway, phone 502-333-6195. After many years in an old warehouse, this new location has the look and feel of a completely reborn business. Still retaining a great selection of silver items and small collectibles, you will find wonderful furniture and decorative pieces to match your own style from all periods including Primitives and Victorian to the 1960s styles now popular with Retro decorators.
The elevator (I teased it’s also an antique) allows easy access to all five floors and the building includes a great place to have lunch at the Colonnade Cafe’, with its top floor view of the surrounding cityscape. Our waitress suggested the soup to accompany my sandwich selection and I herein thank her for the recommendation. The cafe’ must be a destination for local business people, as many in the crowd were overdressed to scour through the more than 200 dealers booths.
A staff member informed me that parking was a great inducement for relocating the antique mall to its new home. We were impressed with the helpful staff, showing us items in display cases and carrying purchases down to the checkout counter to free up our hands to explore for more. Our visit was cut short and my intention is to return again with sufficient time to spend in each and every booth and case.
We never drive through Louisville without a stop at the Derby City Antique Mall & Bistro located at 3819 Bardstown Road, 502-459-5151. This ten year old mall occupies a 1920s former schoolhouse now owned by three sisters, with sister Kay our host on this visit. Bryan, Amy and Jay were there to help us in our search through its 30,000 square feet and 150 dealer spaces.
Kay related an interesting aside to one of their first dealers to move into the mall. The new dealer requested her booth location at the very spot where her second grade desk had been situated. The mall offers a wide variety of items and as you’d expect, includes many Derby collectibles for horse racing fans. We also found some great advertising items, which is one reason we keep returning to this clean, well run establishment. The store includes a cafe’ that’s a full sit down restaurant.
While there, we stopped to see this booth being set up as a special show, featuring a beautiful selection of serving silver. (we have heard of several malls that are sponsoring special events where experts are brought in to discuss, display and induce sales on a defined category.)
I also had to show you this room; it’s dedicated to the 50s – 60s Retro era, with its pastel colors, chrome and funky shapes. While some of these items are finding their place in other mall booths, I was pleased to see this complete collection of items in one area.
My intention with these road trip articles is to encourage our community of collectors to have fun hunting while on vacation or just a weekend jaunt. If you have a suggestion of a store or mall that you have returned to several times and found the place to be worth the visit, please use the “reply” to share with all who enjoy Collectors’ Quest.
Some hints on buying at antique malls to ease your visit. If the store has locked cases, carry a pen and paper (often provided at the front desk) and copy the case, key or booth numbers down before going to the counter for assistance.
Some malls do not allow customers to reach into cases, so ask first before touching an item. If an piece is crowded into the case insist the staff pull it out to avoid damage. Most malls require the employee to take locked case items to checkout. Look for discount or sale tags in booths and write down the percentage and booth number on that same slip of paper, to insure you receive the discounted price. Most malls have a discount policy like 10% off the list price if the item is over a set dollar amount and you pay by check or cash. This varies from store to store and sometimes is not extended by every dealer in the same mall, so ask.
We also check to see if a mall will contact a dealer of an expensive item (often over a set amount, say $100), with an offer that I’m comfortable paying. In recent purchases, we have offered a low ball price expecting to be upped by the dealer and have had some of our offers accepted. In smaller owner run shops, cash money talks. Before your item is rung up recheck the item for flaws, missing parts or reproductions. Be sure to check your receipt for errors, and if an item is represented as antique, be sure all details are written out on the sales slip.
Count the number of items listed on the receipt against the number of items that are going to be wrapped, and insist delicate pieces are protected for your trip home. All good stores want your purchases to survive the road trip and will wrap properly. We always carry extra newspaper and packing boxes to cushion glass and ceramics.
My intention with these road trip articles is to encourage our community of collectors to have fun hunting while on vacation or just on a weekend jaunt. If you have a suggestion for a store or mall that you have returned to several times and found the place to be worth the revisit, please use the “reply” to share with all who enjoy Collectors’ Quest.