MY HUSBAND AND I DELIGHT in perusing antique shops. We’re never seeking anything specific and seldom do we purchase anything. But occasionally we do. For us, antiquing is more about the experience, the memories connected to an object we discover on a shelf.
We found an especially lovely antique shop, Sarah’s Uniques and Jim’s “Man”tiques, during an early September stop in the southeastern Minnesota farming community of St. Charles. I love this couple’s shop. I love it for the variety of merchandise showcased in a way that’s artful, sectioned by themes (not disordered clutter), surprising and inviting.
Oftentimes I become visually overwhelmed by antique shops crammed with too much merchandise. Sarah’s and Jim’s offers a lot, but in an organized, creative sort of way.
If you’re into gas station memorabilia, you can detour into the section of old gas pumps. Just veer around the bear rug.
In a small room, horse-themed items—including stirrups—entice equine appreciators. Or you might find a book like Singing Wheels, which I remember from my youth and which a customer snapped off a shelf.
Or fixate on grocery store memorabilia. What fun it would be to own the Red Owl sign, reminding me of that now-defunct grocery store chain with the cute check-out boys who carried grocery bags to my parents’ Chevy.
Randy and I chuckled at the signage about rubbers. We remember when rubbers were merely a protective covering slipped over shoes.
No matter how many antique shops I’ve shopped, I find they are all different—some musty holes in the wall while others gleam. Organized or chaotic. If I was rating antique shops, I’d give Sarah’s and Jim’s five stars (out of five). It’s that outstanding. One sweet surprise in the small town of St. Charles.
And, bonus, co-owner Sarah Kieffer is the type of shopkeeper who welcomes customers (and browsers) with genuine warmth. Her friendliness showcases the passion she holds for merchandising antiques, primitives and collectibles. That attitude brings folks in the door, to browse and to buy.
FYI: Sarah’s Uniques and Jim’s “Man”tiques is located at 912 Whitewater Avenue in the heart of downtown St. Charles.
Check back tomorrow when I’ll show you another antique shop across the street. And click here to read my first post in this series from St. Charles.
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling