There’s just something magical about stepping into a nice antique store. The happy nostalgia that seems to come over you, no matter your age. The peaked curiosity that instantly returns you to childhood. The sights and smells of simpler times taking you back to when you were young…or even to when your grandma was young. It’s a mood elevator, a time machine, an elixir of life and youth...not to mention an exciting treasure hunt!
But in times like these, it’s more than that. To some people, antique stores, especially the antique malls that have consignment booths for rent, is a lifeline. Giving an opportunity to not only lift your spirits, but possibly your household’s income as well. Whether it’s just a temporary necessity, or a personal passion that ends up lasting years or even decades, buying and selling antiques is a business that seems to be completely unaffected by time, season, or current fads.
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Antiques never go out of date or out of style. In fact their value often increases with age. And in many places you can get better deals buying someone’s old antique furniture, dishes, and houseware, than you can buying new.
When the economy starts to become unstable, smart and motivated people turn to buying antiques...
When the economy starts to become unstable, there are some smart and motivated people who turn to buying antiques, not only for the deal they may find to fill their personal need, but also as an investment because as long as the piece is well taken care of, its value is sure to go up over time.
Today, 573 Magazine took a trip over to Forever Antiques in Park Hills, Missouri, to find out more about buying and selling antiques.
Oh! That’s so cool!
Before you even step through the door, there are so many things to grab your attention and have you saying, “Oh! That’s so cool!” Including the friendly helpful face of Angel, Tracy, or any one of the kind and knowledgeable staff members ready to assist however you need.
A true antique mall, Forever Antiques is an enormous two story warehouse sized store divided into what seems like hundreds of different vendor booths. But unlike a lot of antique stores today (which seem to be more like flea markets…nothing against flea markets. Lol) each booth is decked out with true antiques and visually pleasing to look at with a good organized feel so not to be so hard on the eyes or overwhelming on the senses and the ole brain box.
The pieces are unique and beautiful, and there’s so much! Everywhere you look, there are rare, beautiful, and very intriguing collectables, furniture, and other treasures for sale. And what’s more, Forever Antiques has a large amount of antique furniture, props, and decor that you can rent for photo & film shoots, weddings, or other special occasions.
We met up with owner and operator, Angel McDowell to find out more about Forever Antiques.
My name is Angel McDowell. I'm married to Rusty McDowell and we have two kids that also live in the area. We're from Knob Lick and we’ve been in business for 23 years. We started all this with my father-in-law who eventually decided he didn’t want to do any more. So we took over the whole business about 16 years ago and I’ve been doing it ever since.
I really love doing this. I like the history of it, I like finding usual stuff to sell and bringing in one of a kind displays.
I used to collect with my mom. She was into antiques whenever I was younger and I just started doing it with her. And like I said before, my father-in-law started this with us and it’s just kind of a passion. I really love doing this. I like the history of it, I like finding usual stuff to sell and bringing in one of a kind displays. One of my favorite things to do is set up the displays in the store. I really do enjoy that a lot. And it’s just nice to put a piece of history back in someone’s house. I think that’s important, preserving our history.
The stuff we have here comes from all over the United States. People buy in all different places. We, ourselves, travel to different states all the time to buy stuff so it can come from just about anywhere. And where the vendor's stuff comes from, I just don’t know. I have people come in all the time saying "my gosh, this is so close to what Kevin and I had in New York 10 years ago..." Who knows? It could be the same one! Or not. I think some of it just just seems to travel all over the United States. We have vendors come in from different states and buy here to take to different places and resell too. So it goes everywhere. Some stuff gets shipped to Japan! I mean, it can come from anywhere and it could end up anywhere. Unique and interesting pieces can be hard to find, and takes a lot of time & effort, but it’s always worth it!
573 Magazine: I've heard that when the economy slows, a lot more people start buying things like collectibles and antiques. Has that been your experience here?
Not really, not that I've noticed. It just ebbs and flows all the time. You know? There’s never a rhyme or reason to it. I only see a dip a few times a year, like that certain week everybody has to pay the taxes in April is usually pretty quiet, and the same right before school starts, but other than that it can be busy on a Tuesday more than on a Saturday. It’s just never the same. It’s just kind of different every day, you never know what to expect. That's one of the reason's I like it so much.
573 Magazine: What about vendors? Do you see an increase in vendor interest in economic hard times?
No not really, not that I've really seen anyway. I think either people like it or they don’t like it. I have a lot of people who think they want to get into buying and selling antiques, and then when they start realizing how much work it is... because it is lot of work. It’s a real job. You know? Even just to have one booth you have to constantly change it up and bring new stuff in, move stuff out and rearrange it so it’s different and eye catching...It is work. It’s not just stick the stuff in here and everything sells. It doesn’t work that way unfortunately. And yeah, people just either want to do it, or they don't want to do it. I don’t think the economy factors into it a lot today. I think a lot of people who just collect over the years have kind of a passion for it, and I think they want to sell too, but it’s hard to find stuff that you really want to get rid of. So it’s kind of a hard territory to be in, selling antiques, if you really like to collect nice things.
573 Magazine: So how does one become an antique vendor?
At Forever Antiques all you have to do is come in, figure out what size booth you want to try, and leave your information. Right now we have a waiting list of people that want to do it, but sometimes we don’t and we can get you right in. You just have to have the stuff to move in and prices for them, and we just go from there. I love it. I think it’s a fun thing to do.
I was surprised to hear that there's no real change in antique vending activity and that it doesn't seem to be noticeably effected by the economy in this area. Which made me realize that perhaps it's no longer common knowledge or practice to invest time and money in things that have the potential to become more valuable over time. Art, Real Estate, Antiquities. Understanding that investing in real things that last and stand the test of time is the smartest way to protect your future, no matter what happens in the economy.
...go treasure hunting!
Stop wasting your money on fads that fade and cheap junk that clutters up your space. Instead, go treasure hunting! Picking up one unique piece at a time here and there is a great way to make an investment and really improve the look and feel of your home.
Be sure to stop in and have your own treasure hunt sometime. Whether you need props for an event, you're decking out your house for a vintage look, or just want somewhere to get a little lost by yourself or with friends or family. An antique store like Forever Antiques is a great place to spend the day, and maybe make an investment for the future by taking home a piece of the past.
Check out these other great local Antique Dealers as well!
SPANISH STREET MERCANTILE
Located on Spanish Street close to the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, The Old Spanish Street Mercantile is more than just an amazing antique store. With multiple areas sectioned off for vendors and access to the old pharmacy (which has been turned into a whole organic foods restaurant and market named The Farmacy) Spanish Street Mercantile can keep you entertained and satisfied all day long, giving you hours to find the treasures you’re seeking.
Pastime Antiques is located on Main Street in Historic Downtown Cape Girardeau. Owned and operated by Debbie Maevers who runs and organizes the VintageNOW Fashion Show (an annual themed fashion show event that operates as a major fundraiser for the Safe House For Women and raises awareness on domestic abuse), Pastime Antiques provides all of the amazing clothing and props for VintageNOW, and is often a hotspot for local artists, filmmakers, theater companies, and photographers looking for unique vintage items for their projects.
SILVER MINES QUILTS & ANTIQUES
Along with unique antique furniture and collectables, Silver Mines also carries an array of stunning handmade quilts. Located on Highway 72 between Fredericktown and Arcadia, it’s a great place to stop in on a day trip to any one of the area parks and hiking trails. Travel out to see the fall leaves and feel the cool breeze then stop in for a nice visit with your happy friend nostalgia and warm up with a beautiful hand-sewn one of a kind quilt that feels like home.
STE. GENEVIEVE ANTIQUE MALL
Located on Market Street in Historic Downtown Ste. Genevieve, The Ste. Genevieve Antique Mall not only houses, but is also surrounded by historical marvels and treasures of the past. A wonderful wind-free stop while touring the beauty and bounty of Missouri's oldest permanent settlement, this Antique heaven is just the place you need to walk off the calories from the delectable dishes sampled at the local eateries and sets the mood for a relaxing stroll down memory lane.
Whether you're passionate about trading in antiques, looking for the perfect piece to bring the room together, or just enjoy finding beautiful and interesting things, go visit the splendor of the past in a local antique store this fall. It's just the happy you need to warm your heart and feed your inner artist.
GET OUT THERE!
words by aj koehler
pics by t. smugala
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