Mosaic / Reviews / February 26, 2020

The Hidden Treasures of Galesburg

Galesburg is full of many treasures, including the many antique shops that seem to pop up wherever you go. With so many stores to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to go. Here is a quick review of three of Galesburg’s antique stores.

The Junk Drawer:

The closest option to Knox’s campus, roughly two blocks down from Borzello Hall, is a two-story storefront by the name of The Junk Drawer. With its close vicinity and massive amounts of random finds, this store is a solid option for a midweek antique hunt.

Owned by Killi Kistler, The Junk Drawer has been open for about five years and continues to be a welcoming and exciting place each time you enter. The employees of the shop, such as Debbie Jo Keever, make sure to gain a connection with every person who walks through the doors. As for the shop itself, Kistler has a way of setting up the interior, using every item she has to create a scene. Most of everything that is on display is for sale, including the display cases she uses to show every antique she finds.

The store is divided into several sections and is partioned off for each vendor that rents a space. With so many rented spaces, it is a true mystery of what you’ll find in this store, from certificates of marriage dated to 1897 or a U.S Army Sweetheart pillowcase. Kistler even used old antique doors to section off another room to provide more space for vendors.

As you walk through the interior, the store seems to get more and more hectic, especially once you go upstairs. It is easy to get lost or stray away from the people who you came with. Keever recommended playing Marco Polo in order to find your party.

Needless to say, Junk Drawer gains high points for being the closest to campus and being a medium size, making it easier to handle and an easy trip for any day of the week.

“Junk Drawer” is spelled out of old Scrabble pieces at the shop’s front desk. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

Some vendors sell their own wares at The Junk Drawer, such as this person who crafts old license plates into decorational signs. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

The Junk Drawer attendant Debbie Jo Keever shows old license plates. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

 

Not Too Shabby:

When you stop by The Junk Drawer, it only makes sense to walk down two doors to visit a newer addition to the Galesburg antiques: Not Too Shabby. This store has a very different vibe to The Junk Drawer, including a very distinct smell.

When you walk into Not Too Shabby, the smell of candles wafts through your nose rather than the musky antique smell, making the store more appealing (unless you are looking for that basement smell). The high ceilings are painted a mint color that draws your eyes to it. Seventies music plays on the radio as you sort through the much smaller, but still charming interior of this store. The owner is in the corner standing on top of a ladder while teddy bears fly out of his hands as he organizes the layout. With only one room to look through, this store is an easier shop to do a quick run through as you’re strolling through Galesburg.

Although it’s small, the store is still an important addition to the antique tour of Galesburg. With a similar vendor style layout, the owner, Robert Chandlee, takes a considerable amount of time to make sure each inch of his store is adjusted and displayed properly and to his standards.

Despite the size, the shop maintains an impressive showcase of high-quality goods. Many of which include vintage cameras, unique paintings and dated furniture. Rather than a shop filled to the brim with random goods, Not Too Shabby feels more like a vintage boutique for all your home-goods needs.

 

Paper angels made out of sheet music for sale at Not Too Shabby. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

Figurines featured on display at Not Too Shabby. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

 

Antique Mall:

It is impossible to talk about Galesburg’s antique stores without mentioning the famous Antique Mall located on Main Street near Innkeepers. The three-story time capsule is one that could get a person lost for an entire day, making this event more of a weekend event.

Upon entering the store, you are greeted with the most distinct antique smell that only grows more potent as you climb the stairs to visit different rooms. The twenties themed music rings through your ears as you get lost in the rows and rows of glass display cases that showcase everything from jewelry to nic-nacs to political pins. With such a wide selection of items, it can be impossible to decide on exactly what you want to purchase, or it could be the perfect place to find exactly what you are searching for.

Keeping on the theme, The Antique Mall holds the same similar vendor style, renting out small sections for anyone who wants a space to sell their items. Walking through the many rooms, the store transforms into a jewelry store to a furniture store to a personal art gallery to a museum upon reaching the third floor. As if to continue this blast from the past, the museum room shows a detailed history of Galesburg’s past Ñ from the Maytag closing to the former newspaper, The Zephyer. With the addition of this museum, it is easy to get lost for hours, as people often do. There are often people sitting around a table sharing their to-go cups of coffee from the nearby coffee shop, having a conversation as a break from the antique searching.

There is no limit to what you can find while searching the rooms of antiques. Often you will find a bags of various items, such as kitchen utensils, random mixed up jewelry, or old toys dating back to the fifties. For one employee, she found the old bottles of perfume and compact mirrors for make-up use.

She felt that “you just don’t find things like these in this generation,” and finds that the hold value as the years go by.

Another employee found that the most valuable item she could think of that remains in the store is the Confederate money that totals about $700.

A fellow customer shared her love for the mall as she glanced through the glass showcases. She mentioned how she has seen items that have been sitting in the store for ages, but still manages to fall upon new items each time she visits.

One aspect that could catch someone in one spot for hours is the many boxes of vintage postcards, some with writing and some without. It was exciting to turn each card over to see if someone wrote a note to family member or a loved one, or if the space was blank for someone to write their own postcard. The heart-warming surprise of cursive writing declaring someones love for another was one not to forget.

Compared to Not Too Shabby and The Junk Drawer, The Antique Mall will almost always have something you are looking for Ñ or close to it. If you are antiquing for a specific item, The Antique Mall is just about guaranteed to satisfy your search.

 

The Antique Mall hosts a studio for local painter Jillie Swanson to create her paintings as well as sell them. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

Stacks of old Life magazines are available to buy inside the Antique Mall. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

One of the many old trinkets that the Antique Mall has are buttons from Nixon’s campaign in 1968. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

The third floor of the Antique Mall features a small museum on the history of Galesburg and features a section on the importance of Maytag in town. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

 

 

Alicia Olejniczak, Associate Mosaic Editor
Sadie Cheney, Co-Mosaic Editor

Tags:  antique mall Antiques crafts galesburg antiques mall history local business maytag museum vintage

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