Same vision, new look

Long-time employee takes over antique store

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ
Monica Smith is the new owner of Main Street Antiques, formerly known as Main Street Antique Mall, Inc., located at 105 W. Main St. As a long-time employee of the store, she had developed a rapport with customers and decided to buy the store from its former owners, John and Helen Ramsey, earlier this spring. The store offers an eclectic mix of antique, vintage and retro finds.

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ Monica Smith is the new owner of Main Street Antiques, formerly known as Main Street Antique Mall, Inc., located at 105 W. Main St. As a long-time employee of the store, she had developed a rapport with customers and decided to buy the store from its former owners, John and Helen Ramsey, earlier this spring. The store offers an eclectic mix of antique, vintage and retro finds.

Main Street Antiques, formerly known as Main Street Antique Mall, Inc., located at 105 W. Main St., has been a ubiquitous sight to downtown shoppers for over 30 years. Long-time employee Monica Smith, has taken the helm of the ship, as the store’s new owner.

Smith said the store’s former owners, Helen and John Ramsey, had spoken with her a year ago about her purchasing the business. The couple had acquired the business back in 1998. Mr. Ramsey passed away in January 2017.

Smith, a native of the Seattle area, first came aboard as a store employee in 2007, working on a part-time basis, alongside Carolyn Sonkens. After Sonkens retired about three years ago, Smith took over more of the responsibilities of operating the store, dealing with consigners and ringing up purchases.

As a 10-year employee of the store, Smith said in time she developed a rapport with customers and consigners, and gained more freedom to make business decisions.

“The Ramseys came to trust me enough to let me purchase things that came into the store, and for me to not need to call them first,” Smith said.

Smith’s expertise in obtaining and appraising antiques has been a lifetime in the making.

“I was always interested in antiques and Depression-era glass, and was in a glass club in junior high and high school. When most kids wanted to go to the mall, I wanted to go to antique stores and thrift shops,” she explained.

Smith’s vision for the shop is to offer an eclectic mix of antique, vintage and retro finds, sure to appeal to almost anyone’s tastes.

“I’m not trying to take away from tradition, but I’m tossing it up and doing some different things,” she noted.

One change she has made is featuring clothing items on display in the storefront window — something that had not been previously done.

“It sent some tongues wagging, but I had a vintage wedding dress for sale, and it was the season you start to look for dresses, so I thought it would be a good idea to put it in the window,” she said.

The half-priced sale room in the back of the upstairs level of the store, is now a sitting room, set up with antiques and books. Smith has added to the men’s hat section and also worked on broadening the display area of oil lamps and hardware.

“The main floor is always going to be changing, with things also added to our lower level,” Smith said. “I want the store to always be fresh for people who pop in regularly.”

She noted how the store’s inventory is 90 percent consigned items, plus some auction finds. Smith said she will also sometimes buy an item outright if she is interested in securing it for the store.

“Prices aren’t set in stone. I will adjust prices to reflect today’s market to be competitive and affordable,” she said. “I want people to buy things here and not have to go somewhere else because it’s cheaper.”

Smith said another key change to the store’s theme, is broadening the definition of what constitutes an “antique.” She noted how different generations view pieces differently and something “retro” to one person may mean the 1950s-era, while to another person, it’s closer to the 1980s.

“It’s interesting to see people come into the store who were dragged into here as kids, 10 years ago, wanting to now find antiques for their homes,” Smith said.

She said people may contact her for in-home appraisals and pick-up of antiques. She also offers a delivery service. While the only full-time employee, Smith’s husband Rob does assist her, as well as a few workers who help her bring in and set up inventory. Taking over the business has been a time-consuming venture.

“John was the bookkeeper, so that has been a new experience for me to learn,” Smith said.

She also noted that cataloging consigners is a multi-step system.

“I appreciate customers who keep coming in. I want to keep the business going and get another generation interested in antiques,” she said. “Come in and visit, have fun, and keep an open mind.”

Long-time employee takes over antique store

A store website and Facebook page are soon to come. The store is open Monday-Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment. Call: 641-752-3077.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or