Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Part II from St. Charles: Shopping for antiques at Sarah & Jim’s place November 19, 2015

Sarah's Uniques and Jim's "Man"tiques recently moved into this aged building in downtown St. Charles, MN.

Sarah’s Uniques and Jim’s “Man”tiques recently moved into this aged building in downtown St. Charles, MN.

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.

A security mirror reflects inventory in a section of the shop.

A security mirror reflects inventory in a section of the shop.

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.

This pottery is displayed as if in a gallery.

This pottery is displayed as if in a gallery.

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.

There's plenty to interest both men and women.

There’s plenty to interest both men and women.

Perfect, a pedal car by the gas pumps.

A kid’s toy car pulled up to the gas pumps.

Steer around the bear rug to get to the pumps.

Steer around the bear rug to get to the pumps.

If you’re into gas station memorabilia, you can detour into the section of old gas pumps. Just veer around the bear rug.

This was not with all of the other horse stuff, but would certainly have fit there.

This was not with all of the other horse stuff, but would certainly have fit there.

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.

Remember Red Owl and Gold Bond stamps?

Remember Red Owl and Gold Bond stamps?

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.

An antique shop can even offered unexpected humor.

An antique shop can even offer unexpected humor.

Randy and I chuckled at the signage about rubbers. We remember when rubbers were merely a protective covering slipped over shoes.

This beautiful cupboard was acquired from a local and had been in the family for generations. It's not for sale.

This beautiful cupboard was acquired from a local and had been in the family for generations. It’s not for sale.

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.

On the side of the cupboard, family members recorded their travels abroad, during the early years to serve in the military. Sarah treasures that detailed history, the reason the cupboard is not for sale.

On the side of the cupboard, family members recorded their travels abroad, during the early years to serve in the military. Sarah treasures that detailed history, the reason the cupboard is not for sale.

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.

BONUS PHOTOS:

Dainty cups and saucers for the collector.

Dainty cups and saucers for the collector.

A unique table that punches color combined with orange chairs.

A unique table paired with orange chairs punches color.

Canning jars, especially blue ones, hold timeless universal appeal.

Mason jars, especially blue ones, hold timeless universal appeal.

I grew up on a dairy farms, so this sign caught my eye and my heart.

I grew up on a dairy farm, so this sign caught my eye and my heart.

Likewise these farm notebooks reminded me of my farmer dad.

Likewise these farm notebooks reminded me of my farmer dad. I loved when he would give me a notebook like the Funk’s one.

Outside the shop I saw this cute Dutch couple.

Outside the shop I saw this cute Dutch couple.

Minnesotans

Not something I would collect. But I definitely like the Paul Bunyan art. Fitting for Minnesota.

A perfect canvas for art.

A clean canvas for art.

More treasures...

More treasures…

A close-up look at the exterior signage.

A close-up look at the exterior signage.

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

Advertisements
 

20 Responses to “Part II from St. Charles: Shopping for antiques at Sarah & Jim’s place”

  1. Almost Iowa Says:

    “Man”tiques

    You got to love it.

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    I do not recall Gold Bond Stamps, but remember Red Owl vividly. I very much enjoy the way you document and showcase these interesting communities. Thank you for all the time and energy you put into this passion.

  3. Love the word “Man”tiques! Oh the memories when strolling through an antiques place. Love that red table and chairs – oh so cute! Thanks so much for sharing this gem – Happy Exploring – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  4. Don Says:

    Looks like an enjoyable place to brows and/or purchase items! Oh how I remember Gold Bond Stamps. Saving them and licking them to paste into the book, then looking through the catalog for items and seeing how many books would be needed. Ah good childhood memories.

    Noticed on the pottery display that one jug as labeled “Creamery & Dairy Supplies, Poison – Acid”
    Hummmm makes ya wonder…….

    • I, too, have fond memories of Gold Bond stamps. I remember my mom sitting at the kitchen table, licking and pasting them into books.

      I didn’t notice the “poison-acid.” Yeah, that would make one wonder when combined with “Creamery & Dairy Supplies.”

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    I’m salivating!!! I love antique shopping, and like you I rarely buy anything but it sure is fun looking!

  6. hotlyspiced Says:

    Whenever we go looking at antiques we’re rarely there to purchase, more to have a look and see what we can discover. Never walk away without seeing something fascinating. Love the bear on the floor although it’s not something I’d have in my home! xx

  7. Jackie Says:

    I have seen this shop when passing by but never stopped in. I like the fact that it is an orderly shop, I may need to pop over and check this one out. I remember the “gold bond” stamps….always fun to see what mom was saving for next.

  8. Thread crazy Says:

    I love strolling through antique shops, rarely buy but love looking. As a child, I remember both my
    Mom and my Aunt collecting Gold Bond stamps. In my teenage years, I remember helping Mom collect S&H Green stamps to buy a punch bowl set.

  9. Sarah Kieffer Says:

    Thank you so much for those wonderful photos of the shop!!!! I really enjoyed your visit and would love to see you again!!!! What a wonderful artist you are!!!! I will continue to follow your amazing stories!!!! Sarah and Jim Kieffer


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s