News & Events
Discover Mid-America March 2006
For people with a passion for antiques and a love of history, deciding on a destination should be the beginning of a pleasant adventure, the starting of a path of discovery or, at very least, knowing where you’re going for the purpose at hand.
Discover Mid-America is in the business of pointing the way toward destinations. This year, we kicked off Destinations 2006. We asked our readers — with help from our advertisers — to pick their favorite destinations in 12 categories. We also added “Editor’s Choice” ranking in some categories. The results are on the following pages.
Two Kansas antique malls — Paramount Antique Mall in Wichita and Mission Road Antique Mall in Prairie Village — dominated many categories, both in capturing the most votes and as a runner-up. However, votes came in from all the states Discover Mid-America distributes in.
Paramount Antique Mall, Wichita, KS
The list is long for what makes a successful antique mall — good management, committed staff, knowledgeable, dedicated dealers, clean, neat retail environment, quality items for sale…. and under each of those categories are specifics dealing with the day-to-day routine to bring antiquers through the door.
Talk to just about any dealer at Paramount and the accolades fall on Diane Vaughan, manager and her assistant manager Libby Shelton.
“She is willing to work with people, to get something put together — that says a lot these days,” said Bob Fees, who with his wife, Jackie, have been dealers at Paramount for four years.
It was Diane who “enticed” the Fees to return to Paramount, said Jackie.
Diane was hired in 2002 when the mall operated under a different name and ownership. A few months later, it became evident that the mall had serious financial problems and there was dealer unrest. Two local businesswomen stepped in. They changed the mall’s name to Paramount and hired Diane to run the place.
“Diane acted as the glue that kept the dealers here,” said Libby, Paramount’s assistant manager.
Diane had been a partner in a successful home/garden/antique store in Wichita. Libby was a dealer and one-time regular customer at the Vintage Boutique. The women work well together; both are goal oriented.
“We have the same ideas,” said Libby. “We want customers to leave with warm, fuzzy feelings.”
Diane sums up her passion for antiques and antique mall management by saying, “It is in the thrill of finding an one-of-a-kind treasure and helping someone else find it.”
There’s no doubt Diane possesses a strong management style. She can be direct without being off-putting and does not waffle in her decision-making. Saying she is “organized” doesn’t quite describe her approach to getting things done.
“(But) nothing is carved in stone,” said Diane. “I have flexibility. I’m constantly looking at the numbers with dealers. We do our best to get customers in the door, the rest is up to the dealers.”
Currently, the 40,000 square foot mall has 175 dealers. There are 200 booths plus a Showcase Gallery. Dealers want to be at Paramount; there’s a waiting list and an interview process to be accepted.
“We educate them so they can be successful in their sales,” said Diane. “We ask dealers not to use us as storage space, to display merchandise, to move it around, give it a fresh look.”
Marcille Tuttle, a dealer at Paramount since 2000, is content with Diane’s management approach. “The mall staff is so nice and helpful, and good salespeople — they keep the place up,” she said.
Marcille deals in glass and pottery. “I love pretty glass — cranberry glass,” she said.
One of her favorite pieces is a Fenton fluorescent cranberry glass piece. Her booth also has Hull pottery — “Bow Knot is a good seller,” said Marcille.
Her collection of miniature sewing machines draws can draw a customer’s attention. “They’re children’s sewing machines,” Marcille said. “They were made to teach children to sew. I have some from the early 1900s to the 1940s.”
Bob and Jackie Fees have their share of attractions. Jackie is drawn toward “country store, primitive and medical” antiques. Their booth has old pharmacy products, razors and razor straps from the early 1900s and a complete optometrist set from 1914.
“We like the unusual aspect of what we collect,” said Bob.
“I’m interested in the way things were built, the way they were used, the construction and quality. These old-timers knew what they were doing.”
The same can be said for Paramount Antique Mall in general. The mall is located at 13200 W. Kellogg (or Highway 54 going west from downtown Wichita), open Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sun., 12-6 p.m. The next “Super Saturday Week-end” is March 11-12; expect 10-30% discounts storewide with some dealers willing to offer even steeper discounts. For more information, call 316-722-0500 or visit www.paramountantiquemall.com.
Mission Road Antiques, Prairie Village, KS
A unique blend of high quality antiques is what makes the Mission Road Antique Mall one of the favorite destinations for customers who buy European, Native American and Folk Art. But the store has much more to offer as well.
Carol “Casey” Ward and her partner, Courtland “Corky” Logue purchased the mall in 2005. Casey had worked there since 1994 and became manager in 1998.
“I’ve had an interest in antiques off and on for most of my life,” said Casey. “My parents collected antiques and I grew up around them.”
She admits she didn’t find an appreciation for them until she became an adult when her mother passed and left her most of her collection. Casey kept some of her mother’s prized collection, but there were some things she needed to sell, and that’s when Casey first became a dealer. Now, she manages has one of the most successful and largest antique malls in the Kansas City metro area.
“I think one of the reasons for our success is location,” said Casey. “We’re in a historic location on the Wolfe Brothers farm area and we’re centered in an affluent section of the city.”
Casey also said the quality of her 350 dealers, who come from all over the Midwest, is what makes the store so successful as well.
Jeff Wilson is one of Mission Road’s newest folk art dealers. “I’ve always been a collector and when we moved to Kansas City, we downsized and I had to prioritize and let some of my collection go,” he said.
One of the most unique items in his booth last month was a miniature house, complete with electrical wiring that Jeff acquired in Pennsylvania. The turn-of-the-century piece is representative of Wilson’s items, which are unique and finely crafted.
Many items at Mission Road Antique would capture the attention of any collector. Sue and Jack Shreves have been dealers at Mission Road for the past 11 years. Like many dealers, Sue started selling her own collection and that evolved into a permanent business. The Shreves’ booth of Native American antique art contains authentic kachinas, vintage rugs and blankets and even a hand-carved, six-foot cigar Indian.
“I always told my husband I wanted a cigar Indian and we found one advertised that stood on the porch of a realty office,” said Sue. The Indian graced their home for years, but due to downsizing, they offered him for sale in their booth.
The Shreves said that when they started collecting while living in Utah, it was much easier to find authentic vintage Native American art; something Sue said has become harder over the years. Now, they have to look much harder at estate sales and auctions, and they still travel the Southwest for just the right items for their booth.
Teri McClure also travels for many of her items, but she goes a lot further to bring her wares to Mission Road. McClure’s booth specializes in European furniture, particularly pieces from the South of France.
Almost six years ago, Teri was traveling in Europe, looking for pieces to bring home, when she said she had a revelation. “I just knew other people would like this type of furniture,” she said. “I had been to Mission Road as a customer many times and decided to get a booth.”
Teri now ships items from her European buying trips home in 40-foot-containers. She describes her booth as anything “old and French,” but she loves to sell Black Forest type items, tramp art or “items you would find in a French lodge or the French Alps,” she said.
One of the most unique items in her booth this month is a late 19th century/early 20th century bar that she bought from one of her best suppliers.
Casey said Jeff Wilson, Sue and Jack Shreves and Teri McClure are representative of the fine quality dealers she has at Mission Road Antiques. Casey does turn down some dealers if she doesn’t feel their items are not right for the mall.
That approach is what also drew Wilson to the store. “I like the community of people here,” he said. “There are just so many talented dealers and I like the consistency of the level of quality.”
Mission Road Antiques, 4101 W. 83rd, offers 50,000 square feet of antiques from 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Mon.-Sat., and 11 a.m.–6 p.m. on Sunday. The award-winning bistro located inside the mall is open from 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Mon.-Sat. For more information, call 913-341-7577 or visit www.missionroadantiquemall.com.
Paola, KS, Pigeon West and the Swan River Museum
Kansas is ripe with history, no less so than the Paola area.
So it’s appropriate that Paola is a 2006 Destination as a Historic Town, the Swan River Museum in Paola a 2006 Destination as Historic Site/Museum and Pigeon West Antiques in Paola as a runner-up 2006 Destination for Housewares and Glassware Collectibles.
Spanish explorers, French Jesuit missionaries, the Confederate Indian Tribes — the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Wea and Piankishaw people — William Quantrill, the Ursuline Sisters, John Brown and runaway slaves, the first production of petroleum products west of the Pennsylvania and home to one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the state are all historical links to the Paola area.
The town of approximately 6,000 takes pride in its history and works hard to keep that history alive. The Miami County Courthouse is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places; the Ursuline Convent, gardens, grotto and cemetery were established over 100 years ago; Mitchler Springs is the site of the Osage Indian River Company and Baptiste Peoria’s Trading Post, the Hitchin’ Post Museum holds an amazing collection of antique cars and horse-drawn vehicles; and there are many Victorian homes to see.
One of the keepers of Paola’s history is Betty Bendorf, museum coordinator for the Swan River Museum and librarian for the Hunt-Russell Research Library, the part of the museum that houses and receives official records for Miami County. The Miami County Genealogy Society maintains the library.
“Hardly a day goes by where people don’t come in wanting to do research,” said Betty. Many are tracing family roots in Miami County
The Swan River Museum — the word “swan” taken from the English translation of a nearby area of Marais de Cygne or marsh of swans in French) — keeps some 30 volunteers occupied with presenting the history of Paola and Miami County.
“We try to make it interesting, a county thing, to draw people to where history is an interest,” Betty said.
The museum houses artifacts, offers tours and presents rotating and permanent exhibits. Among the artifacts are items from the St. Philippine Duschene Shrine and Mission to the Potawatomie Indians (1837-1847), many relating the tribe’s tragic “Trail of Death” forced resettlement march.
The commitment to history extends to Pigeon West Antiques.
“Our view is to preserve history through antiques,” said Jeff Hartl. He owns the 2,000 square foot shop with Ann Davis. Jeff and Ann take their “history” mission so seriously that “Preserve History Through Antiques” is the motto on the shop’s front window.
The shop opened in 1997. Jeff called his antique passion a “fever and an addiction.” Both Hartl and Davis participate in shows throughout the Midwest and conduct estate sales. Jeff says their focus leans toward more patterned glass. The shop handles Haeger and Roseville pottery, and Jeff thinks there’s a growing interest in Fire King 1950’s glass.
Paola, KS is approximately 50 miles south of Kansas City on Highway 169. The Swan River Museum is located at 12 E. Peoria and open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Mon.-Sat., Call 913-294-4940 or visit www.miamicountykansashistory.org for more information. Pigeon West Antiques, located at 14 S. Silver, is open Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday by appointment. Call 913-294-9094 for more information.
NATIVE AMERICAN & WESTERN ANTIQUITIES
2006 Destinations –
Editor’s Choice (selected categories)
NATIVE AMERICAN & WESTERN ANTIQUITIES
VOTE GETTERS IN
NATIVE AMERICAN & WESTERN ANTIQUITIES
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