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Retailer spotlight: Hopkins Antique Mall

If there can be a silver lining to the pandemic, some businesses have found themselves far busier since reopening than they were before COVID. Hopkins Antique Mall owner, Maureen Ewald, who took over the mall on March 1, 2020, said business has been fantastic, with foot traffic increasing steadily every week since the mall opened back up last May. Renting space to a host of antique dealers, the mall wasn’t completely full prior to the pandemic, but now it is. “For sure, it has to do with the trend of people redecorating their homes with things that mean something,” Ewald says. “They’ve been wanting to do this, and now they have decided to take time to do it. Our sales of furniture and home décor, signs, books – it’s been amazing.”

Antique display showing vintage clothing

“We’re a community of antique dealers, mostly from the Twin Cities area. By supporting small business, you’re supporting these people, letting them have an entrepreneurial outlet,” Ewald explains. “It’s a fun group and tight-knit. And when business is good, we all enjoy it even more.”

The mall features two full floors with a total of 78 booths, packed with things such as vintage clothing, estate jewelry, vintage costume jewelry, vinyl records, older technology such as manual typewriters and old cameras, as well as repurposed furniture – for example, an old sewing-machine table turned into a refreshment station or vanity. “Our mission is to provide a fun and friendly place to explore,” Ewald says. “Our products are ever-changing. We cater to the treasure-hunter, collector, upcycling enthusiast, those who like to dress or decorate with unique finds.”

Ewald first rented space in the mall about 18 years ago. Selling antiques was something she had always wanted to do, so she took the leap, eventually expanding from her booth in the mall to doing shows and a lot of eBay and online business. When the opportunity came to buy the mall, that, too, was something she had always wanted to do. “My husband and I look at it as a retirement plan,” she says. Ewald’s specialty is Pyrex dishes and Fisher-Price toys. “I love the fact that the toys don’t wear out, they’re still relevant, everybody remembers them from childhood.” As for Pyrex, “It lasts forever. People are rediscovering the turquoise and the pink patterns, the colorful part of it. The things that you would buy new today are not the same quality. It still has use, makes you smile when you look at it, and it’s practical. My parents are both originally from Corning, New York, so I have a family connection to it.”

Antique display showing scarves and home goods

Ewald loves the fact that, with her business, customers spend less and get better quality. “I think a lot of people really appreciate that. One memorable example was a beautiful mid-century modern dining set, painted deep blue with chalk paint. A young couple purchased it. It’s wonderful quality, updated to look new and affordable – all at the same time. It’s fun.”

“We have a steady stream of people coming to us who are cleaning out, decluttering, understanding that something has sentimental value, but they don’t need to hang on to it anymore,” Ewald says. “People will bring something in, ‘This was mine as a child, I don’t need it, I want it to go to somebody who cares about it’ – they don’t want to just donate it, but have a sense of where it’ll end up, not just go out into the world. You do feel better about it that way.”

Antique display showing small items in a glass case

For COVID-19 measures, Hopkins Antique Mall requires masks, has a one-way traffic system to keep people separate as much as possible, has plastic shields at the check-out area and disinfects areas that people touch frequently. “I think people feel safer coming into a shop like ours,” Ewald says. “It’s not like Target where you have so many people. You have 10 to 20 at a time maybe, in a 10,000-square-foot area.”

A part of Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse program, Join the Circle encourages residents to buy used goods rather than new – not only to reduce waste and preserve natural resources, but to save money. By joining the circle, residents receive useful tips, as well as exclusive benefits at participating retailers. You can learn more and Join the Circle today at hennepin.us/choose-to-reuse/learn-more

hopkinsantiquemall.com

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Now that warm weather has arrived – and with it, the desire to clean and declutter – this a great time to get serious about donating usable goods that are taking up space in your overcrowded home.