Antique & Handmade: 4 Great Michigan Spots
Whether it’s something wonderfully vintage or beautifully handcrafted, Michigan offers a wealth of places to find that special something.
TroVe is home to what owner Julie Ahlberg likes to call “found treasures.” While she doesn’t classify herself as a traditional antiques dealer, the store contains a mix of vintage, repurposed items, as well as handcrafted goods, including hand-painted furniture, framed prints, throw pillows, baskets and a variety of other quaint items.
Ahlberg runs the business, now in its sixth year, with the help of the store’s unofficial mascot, a Bernese mountain dog named Zoie. Her vendors and customers look forward to seeing Zoie when they come to the shop.
“Everyone loves her, and if I’m here, she’s here,” Ahlberg says.
Some 30 unique vendors sell their goods in the store, with about half of them offering vintage items, and the other half selling their own brands.
“I have a whole section that’s called our Michigan corner, selling just Michigan-made products,” Ahlberg says. This includes the northern Michigan favorite Cherry Republic, as well as smaller vendors, such as Polka Dot Mitten, run by an artist in Saugatuck that specializes in mugs, notecards, coasters and tea towels.
TroVe is also a destination for crafters. Ahlberg is a dealer for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and teaches monthly furniture-painting classes.
“I love gathering with people and having fun with people, so I love teaching these classes,” she says. 8639 Portage Rd., Portage, Michigan 49002, 269/312-8299, troveofportage.com
Maple Street Mall, Mason
About 20 minutes southeast of Lansing, you’ll find Maple Street Mall, a three-story antiques emporium specializing in what owner Debbie Shattuck describes as “mostly antique collectibles, but also a ton of repurposed and refurbished and recycled home decor.”
The mall has been in Shattuck’s family for three generations. The space formerly housed Dancer’s Fashions, a department store chain run by her father, Doug Dancer, and reopened as a craft and antiques mall in 2008.
“We have some extremely talented, really creative vendors that think outside the box and do all kinds of cool things: painting furniture, repurposing and giving new life to old things,” Shattuck says.
Some of the 55 vendors have been with the mall since the beginning. One of those longstanding vendors is the Victorian Tailor, owned by an artist who takes heirloom lace, linens and other historic textiles and creates Victorian-style garments.
“She may take an old tablecloth, doilies or lace pieces and create a dress,” Shattuck says. “People literally are wearing a tablecloth, and it’s stunning.”
Other popular vendors in the store include Annie’s Book Space, known for its collection of vintage reads, and In With The Old, featuring items made from old pump organs the owner receives as gifts.
“The artist very lovingly deconstructs them, unscrews all the pieces and saves them. Then, she creates coffee tables, wall hangings, mirrors,” Shattuck says. “She uses all of the parts. It’s just phenomenal.”108 W. Maple St., Mason, Michigan 48854, 517/244-9444, maplestreetmall.com
The Found Cottage, Hudsonville
The Found Cottage boutique is known for its eclectic assortment of items old and new. The shop, owned by Lisa Van Dyke, Liz Galvan and Abby Hoppen, brings in local vendors and ones from neighboring states to sell a mix of antique and handmaid goods.
“Honey Homb Market does vintage antiques only,” Van Dyke says. “She’s from west Michigan and has been doing this for years. She’s a great picker as far as finding really great vintage and antique furniture.”
Fabric Scout Studio specializes in vintage-inspired, handmade pennant pillows, mittens and blankets. Other vendors offer handmade jewelry and macramé textile art. Each of the owners have their own display in the store — Van Dyke, for example, sells vintage-inspired home goods — and The Found Cottage has its own line of household items, including candles, wall hangers and paper products.
There’s also space in the store for weekly classes.
“We invite vendors to come in and teach,” Van Dyke says. “We’ve had lessons in floral arranging, stamp-making and painting.”
In addition to classes, The Found Cottage holds small vintage flea markets in the parking lot throughout the summer. The biggest draw is the annual Labor Day event, Mercantile Market, at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds.
“We open on Friday afternoon and it runs through Saturday evening,” Van Dyke says. “We have 150 vendors come in from all over the country. We have had a really great response to it. It’s a huge event, and it’s so much fun.” 2460 Chicago Dr., Suite B, Hudsonville, Michigan 49426, 616/662-0505, thefoundcottage.com
Rolling Hills Antiques and Art, Traverse City
The large white dairy barn that’s home to Rolling Hills Antiques & Art has been a destination for antique furniture and accessories in the Traverse City area for 50 years. Originally converted into an antique store by Bob and Loretta Baynton in 1970, Glen Lundin and his wife Diane acquired the property 21 years ago.
“The barn is three things,” says Glen Lundin. “One end is our home, and the other end of it is our store. Then down below, where at one time cows were kept, is the workshop where I restore the antique furniture.”
Lundin works about 60 hours a week restoring furniture to sell in the store. And although he loved antiques when he and Diane bought the property, he admits he didn’t know what he was doing at first.
“I learned on the job, took classes, got tips from others in the business and put in a lot of hard work,” Lundin says, adding that he is also a certified antiques appraiser.
Most of the furniture Lundin restores is from early American history.
“Everything before 1850 is really fun to restore, and my earliest pieces go back to about 1700,” he says. “All of it was very well made, and I love it all.”
Lundin also sells a variety of home decor and Americana collectibles, such as candlesticks, baskets, glassware, pottery, original artwork and hand-tied rugs. For the bigger items, storage and delivery are included in the price. He delivers furniture up to seven hours away, one direction, so your goods can make it back to Ohio safely. 5085 Barney Rd., Traverse City, Michigan 49684, 231/947-1063, rollinghillsantiques.com