Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Janesville: Discovering Ms. Mac’s Antiques October 13, 2016

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ACROSS FROM THE OLD GRAIN ELEVATOR, in the solid brick building that once housed a bank, Ms. Mac’s Antiques anchors a corner of downtown Janesville.

 

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I was delighted when, last Friday afternoon, the OPEN flag fluttered from a post outside this southeastern Minnesota business.

 

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My expectations were not particularly high. But, surprise. I stepped into a shop so skillfully and artfully designed that it could be featured in the pages of a national magazine like CountryLiving.

 

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My favorite piece in the entire shop because this statue reminds me of me as a young girl.

My favorite piece in the entire shop because this statue reminds me of me as a young girl.

 

For a few moments I just stood there, taking in the vignettes displaying a plethora of collectible, vintage, antique, architectural salvage and other merchandise.

 

Ms. Mac's signature crow sales tag.

Ms. Mac’s signature crow sales tag.

 

And then, after a quick perusal of the front ground level section of Ms. Mac’s, I introduced myself as a blogger to the man behind the counter. He’s Ron Hardeman, known as Mr. Mac in this family-owned business. Susie McConville is Ms. Mac, the talented designer. And the couple’s daughter, Jessica Oberpriller, is Ms. Mac, too. She runs a second shop, Ms. Mac’s, too, in Carver.

 

The picket fence mimics the shape of the old grain elevator across the street.

A section of picket fence inside the shop mimics the shape of the old grain elevator across the street.

 

While Susie still works full-time as a clinic manager in nearby Mankato, Ron runs the shop solo weekdays. He quickly obliged my request to photograph Ms. Mac’s Antiques. As we chatted, I learned that the couple, who live in Mankato, fell in love with the old bank building. I can see why. It has character with worn wooden floors, high ceilings, nooks and generous light pouring in through an abundance of windows.

 

There's lots of merchandise in the basement.

There’s lots of merchandise in the basement.

 

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The basement also provides space for additional treasures.

 

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Still, even a good bones appealing historic building does not make the shop. An eye and hand for displaying merchandise do. And Susie possesses both. Plus, a good strong business sense, connections and networking also make this business work. Ms. Mac’s customer base stretches across the U.S. with antique dealers coming to this small Minnesota farming community to find merchandise they can’t find in their locales.

 

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As I poked around, I assessed that Ms. Mac’s offers an eclectic mix of unique merchandise not typically found in Minnesota antique shops I’ve visited. And, no, the Hamm’s beer bear is not for sale.

BONUS PHOTOS:

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Mother Hubbard items come from a Mankato flour mill.

Mother Hubbard items come from a Mankato flour mill.

 

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Sitting on the front counter, this Scripto service station is being used and is not for sale.

Sitting on the front counter, this Scripto service station is being used and is not for sale.

 

Even the OPEN sign on the front door is creatively appealing.

Even the OPEN sign on the front door is creatively appealing.

 

FYI: Ms. Mac’s Antiques is open from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Click here for more information.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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22 Responses to “In Janesville: Discovering Ms. Mac’s Antiques”

  1. Marneymae Says:

    my goodness. such a charming store, abundant with still-usable treasures!
    thanks for sharing this – i hope it draws more traffic to their shop.

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    I love the Donald Duck capture! Ha ha!

  3. Carol Says:

    What an interesting place! I think you’ve snagged more than a few new visitors for them. I’m just sorry I missed that 5 cent shoe sale!

  4. Dan Traun Says:

    So many treasures. It is usually a great experience to stop into shops such as this. You find the neatest things.

  5. I love the building as much as the treasures inside – how much fun to explore – thanks for sharing 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  6. I kinda want to go buy that cup… it’s so cute! It looks like another fun place to visit

  7. Don Says:

    Oh my, now I want to go to Janesville and explore! Humm I wish we had shops like that here, we are to young a state with to small a population to have any real quantity of antiques. The old Bank building, I would love a building like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Don Says:

    Not if but when!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Valerie Says:

    I enjoy antique shops too. Thanks for introducing a new one to me.

  10. Caryl Larson Says:

    I could really use that white church window in the first photo. Love!


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