There’s nothing quite like a pair of vintage, high-waisted pants; a great deal on paperbacks; or hand-painted mugs. The affordable goods that you can pick up at resale stores can lie anywhere on the merchandise spectrum from practical items in good condition (that save you the expense of buying them new) to items that you’re specifically looking for to help you achieve a desired aesthetic. (Mine is either hippie flower child or concert punk.)
Perhaps that’s where the distinction lies between resale stores and antiques stores, although there’s certainly some overlap. (See the Aug. 23 Peninsula Pulse or doorcountypulse.com to read my antiques-crawl piece.) To me, antiques stores carry collections of items that have lots of history, whereas resale stores carry gently used practical – and sometimes quirky or vintage – items that their proprietors have acquired and curated themselves or accepted as consignment pieces.
The inventories at these stores are ever-changing, sometimes surprising and entirely different from those at every other resale store because each consignor has – and each owner chooses – a distinctive collection of merchandise to sell. That’s why I often find myself checking out these shops when I need something to do, either alone or with friends. It’s fun to go looking at stuff, even when I’m not in the market for buying.
The antiques- and resale-store visits that I’ve made recently have reminded me of the sheer number of things that are on the planet. (And these stores contain only things that were previously owned, so think about how much stuff there is in the world when you factor in new stuff, too.) I mean, whew! It’s overwhelming.
Take this article as a nudge (shout-out to Mother Nature) to keep these Door County resale stores in mind when you’re stocking your home with practical goods, decorating or shopping for clothes. When you consign or donate, you’re recycling and putting the things you no longer want into the hands of someone who will love them; when you purchase, you’re also participating in the recycling loop and letting someone else pay the big price tag upfront.
There are other shops on the peninsula that I would encourage readers to visit, but because of time constraints, I chose just a few. Look to last week’s issue for recommendations of antiques stores.
Forever Grateful Resale & Boutique, Fish Creek
This little shop triples as a resale store, jewelry boutique and art gallery (the Pier Gallery is upstairs). Home décor is the central theme, complete with holiday decorations, globes, vases and more. My favorite items were probably the wooden carrots.
Julie’s Upscale Resale, Sister Bay
Expect décor, jewelry, furniture and stylish resale clothing and shoes. (I once found a great pair of Teva sandals, but they were too big.) Oh, and I can’t forget about the selection of Mrs. Meyer’s products. The store is pleasant, bright and full – yet not overwhelming – with plenty to see inside, and some merchandise expanding to the front and outside the large, open garage door in the back.
Second Hand Sue’s, Sister Bay
I always wondered what I would find inside this place. What I found was clothing, décor, jewelry, housewares and even tools, old movies and some electronics. It also had a garage out back for larger items such as tables and old farm equipment.
Rusty Dusty Vintage and Records, Ephraim
I’ll admit that this is my favorite resale store in the county. It’s cute, it’s cool, it’s curated. I bought a 1960s vintage jean jacket that had a hand-printed skull and crossbones on the back with the word “Repent” across the top. I’ve bought patches, sunflower dresses, mom jeans, records, mugs and more at this shop. It’s every flower child’s dream. Trust me.
Vintique’s circular, stone entrance with a red door is a treat in itself – kind of like something out of a fairy tale. The merchandise just inside the door has a sailing/water theme, but the rest of the shop offers furniture, décor, vintage items, books, board games and toys. I particularly enjoyed looking at a typewriter from 1915 and a suitcase that a traveler had decorated with stickers from many journeys.