Refurnished Thoughts

Discover Vintage America - OCTOBER 2018

October light

October has always been one of my favorite months. I love the way the quality of sunlight changes as the northern hemisphere of our planet tilts away from the sun. Sunny afternoons become suffused in golden light, which helps to accent the changing colors of the leaves.

The humidity lessens and temperatures begin their slow descent toward wintertime.
Corn and soybean harvests are in full swing and apples are fully ripe in the orchards.

This time of year, a pause between the heat of summer and the cold of winter, gives a person time to reflect on the year and what's been accomplished, or not.

Of course, when we become so wrapped up in the dramas of our personal lives and the daily grind of making a living and paying the bills, sometimes through our modern myopia we lose sight of the natural order of the seasons and the ancient ingrained rhythms of life.

That's why I try to take some time every autumn to get out of the city and appreciate the beauty of nature in the Midwest, where we are fortunate enough to experience the four seasons of the year. And, luckily enough, there are fall festivals to attend in dozens of smaller towns every weekend somewhere in the immediate region. Many of them are advertised right here in Discover Vintage America. I encourage our readers to take a breath of clear autumn air and take some time to enjoy the bounty of the harvest, slow down and appreciate life in the slow lane, if only for a weekend. It helps to clear the head.


Our cover story this month marks the demise of the Mission Road Antique Mall in Prairie Village, KS, one of the premiere antique malls in the Midwest. And while the closing of an antique shop or mall here and there usually does not make for news in these pages, something about this closing is different. Most businesses close for lack of customers. They were in the wrong location perhaps, or the owners had insufficient business skills.

The Mission Road mall had plenty of customers and an extremely loyal cadre of dealers, some holding booths since the mall's opening in 1994. This mall's problem was a corporate out-of-state owner with no connection to the community, whose vision for the property didn't include historic preservation or vintage businesses. The mall's owner, Casey Ward, worked diligently to find new space for the mall, but was ultimately unable to swing a deal for such a large operation.

Ward noted that while the mall was able to survive the last decade's upheaval in the antiques trade, it is leaving just when she detected that things were finally turning around as dealers adjusted their merchandise to meet the demands of a younger clientele.

That should be seen as a ray of hope for the trade. Persistence and attention to your customers' tastes will eventually pay off.

Everybody hang in there!

Leigh Elmore can be contacted at
Leigh Elmore's Refurbished Thoughts Archive — past columns