Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The antique shop next to The Van Man November 29, 2017


Next to Bay Lake Antiques, used cars, trucks, and a few vans, cram a fenced lot bannered with signs like WORKING MANS TRUCKS, THE VAN MAN, TRUCKS AND CARS FOR THE WORKING MAN.



But what if you’re a woman?



I suppose you’re still welcome. Not that I was in the market for a different vehicle, being on vacation and all. Yet, as Randy turned our aging van off Minnesota State Highway 18 between Garrison and Brainerd, I considered the potential alienation of female customers via that marketing strategy.



After my initial surprise and after taking a few photos, I focused on the neighboring antique shop and the content therein.





The gracious proprietor accepted my request to take photos as I poked around the main shop, in several stand-alone units and in a roofed wagon jammed with merchandise.





I found several priced-right rural-themed vintage trays that interested me, but passed on them because of their condition. More and more I can talk myself out of a purchase by repeating, I don’t really need more stuff.




Yet, that doesn’t keep me from antique shops, from thrift stores and such that more and more these days hold the treasure of memories.


© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “The antique shop next to The Van Man”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Those vases in your last picture are amazing. I might have had a difficult time passing up some of those red ones. 🙂

  2. Valerie Says:

    I agree with you…it’s so much fun to look but I really don’t need more stuff.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    I considered the potential alienation of female customers via that marketing strategy

    Hmmmmmm, considering that most men are alienated by half the Up North shops, it’s only fair that the guys get someplace other than a bar to waster their time.

    Besides, most working men still have to get the permission of a working wife before making major purchases.

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. I adore antique stores and flea markets! Nice pics Audrey!

  5. Don Says:

    The “Van Man” Rhymes however The “Van Woman” would not. I bet that a person looking at a vehicle would be told “she runs good” thus dual gender would apply! Very few antique stores in my area but I do love investigating them. “More and more I can talk myself out of a purchase by repeating, I don’t really need more stuff” —- a very good strategy I too have much more stuff than I need!

  6. Littlesundog Says:

    I probably would have just chuckled about the “Van Man” place. I’d have made a beeline to the antique store. Like you, antique stores, flea markets and thrift shops are like a magnet to me. I’m very practical… I don’t need many things but every so often I find something I have to have!

  7. I still go to antique and thrift shops even though I don’t buy anything because I have nowhere to put anything–I just like to go and look and wonder about their original owners. What a fun day!

  8. Susan Ready Says:

    Yes it is fun to browse but when I see stuff in the stores labeled antiques and I still own them makes me feel a bit old. Your photos are sharp and colorful images.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Great pictures and for the record I saw the vintage Saltine tin before I noticed the yarn

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