BY PAMELA KEECH
Yep, the Bloomington Antique Mall is back. When it closed three years ago it broke the hearts of collectors and dealers alike. The building sat vacant until last October when it was bought by Gregory and Denise Pence of Columbus, who also own Exit 76 Antique Mall in Edinburgh. Cheers were heard along West 7th Street when the doors reopened just two weeks after the sale was finalized.
The mall looks even better than before. Antique furniture and decorator items cluster near the front counter and an area of glass display cases has been added. Many familiar dealers were able to reclaim their former spots. The bookseller is back, as is the purveyor of the snowshoes and bear traps. So is the duchess of rhinestones, top floor rear.
By accident (not by design) several sellers of retro goods occupy a sizeable chunk of the lower level, now referred to as “the fun floor” by the staff. A wonderland of midcentury furnishings, vintage clothing, feathers, and glitz awaits the curious shopper.
A spiffy new freight/passenger elevator (some will remember the former creaky cage) and ramps to both the front door and loading dock make the space fully accessible.
The 24,000-square-foot building is located in the Near West Side Historic District that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally the John R. Figg Wholesale Grocery Company, it was built circa 1900 adjacent to the Monon railway (now the B-Line Trail) as a distribution center for foodstuffs. It first became an antique mall in 1987.
Inveterate antique dealer Will Rosena manages the mall and makes sure that the retail philosophy—to rent space and showcases in a well-lit, clean, and friendly environment—is observed. Multitudes of windows, well-kept merchandise, and efficient customer service help fulfill the promise.
What’s hot now? “Midcentury modern,” say Rosena. “If you listen to what’s going on at auctions, as soon as midcentury modern comes up the number of bidders and prices paid just skyrockets.”
The mall’s address is 311 W. 7th St.; its telephone number is 323-7676. The mall is open seven days a week from 10 am to 6 pm. It is closed just three days a year—Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
Pamela Keech is Bloom’s style editor.