COLFAX — At the intersection of North Walnut and East Howard Streets, surrounded by the historic buildings of downtown Colfax, there is a new stop for shoppers brimming with items from days gone by waiting to be re-purposed and find new homes.
While Weathervane Vintage may be the literal new kid on the block, the owners have been in the antiquing game for ages.
Weathervane co-owner Jeff Frye has enjoyed antiques since he was a kid. He said he and business partner Robert Langloss worked together as vendors at the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall in Des Moines for three years and decided it was time to branch out.
Frye and Langloss moved into the former home of the Jasper County Tribune in May. They said they love the location in downtown Colfax, surrounded by a handful of other antique outlets, but expanding into a larger space is always a possibility.
“This is kind of a test run to see how everything goes,” Frye said.
Their first day was May 12, and he said they’ve already seen a healthy amount of local support to the new business.
“The people have been very welcoming,” Frye said.
The building itself is split up into sections with a front room filled to brim the with antique cabinets, desks, odds and ends. A walk through the hallway next to the register and up a small flight of stairs leads to more treasures in two smaller rooms. There is a storage area behind the shop and a bathroom which is currently going through a facelift.
Frye said Julia Kern, owner of Spring City Vintage next door, has a lot to do with getting them to Colfax and setting up shop. She told them about the open space and convinced Frye and Langloss to set up shop.
Kern said she likes how there is a new antique shop in town, saying as a business owner it is good to have a cluster of similar stores in town and she would like to see more in the area if possible.
“The more the merrier, we need more businesses so it is wonderful,” Kern said.
Kern met Frye and Langloss at auctions and would frequently run into them. She thought they would be a good fit in the Colfax business community and encouraged them to open up a store.
She is part of a growing trend in retail called occasional stores, where retailers open for a couple of days per month instead of a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m daily schedule. She cited the demographics of Colfax as a reason for this business model because most of the residednts in town drive more than 30 minutes for work and are not around during the business day.
Kern established the Second Saturday Business Market in Colfax, opening her store on the second Saturday of each month. Frye said they will be open during special events, junk runs and second Saturdays to coincide with Spring City Vintage. They are also open whenever it is needed via appointment.
Frye said he has no idea how many pieces are in the shop, but he guesses there are around 1,500 pieces, which include desks, washing tubs, Raggedy Anne dolls and vases. He said people will generally call him with things they want to sell to him and refurbish.
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