BY PAMELA KEECH
Dear antiquers, what shopping style suits you? Propped up against the pillows at 4 a.m. searching eBay and Etsy? Yard sales? Browsing flea markets in Paris? Or perhaps a leisurely ramble along Bloomington’s antique trail. Didn’t know we had one? Well settle in, here it is.
Start at Sarah Jane and David’s Attic, 752 S. Walnut, a poker’s paradise. Poke into rooms and alcoves, hover over cases, sneak between the shelves. What entices you may be bruised or rusty but that’s what spit and polish is all about.
Continue to Foursquare Antiques, Furniture & Fine Art at 350 S. Walnut, where home-renovation maven Matt Murphy hides all the stuff he finds on his adventures. As expected, there are stacks of architectural pieces and arcane hardware, plus local memorabilia and gadgets from the days of slower housekeeping.
Turning west on 2nd Street will immediately bring you to Second Street Antique Mall, manageably small and comfortably browsable. Dealers and merchandise vary with the cool or cruel winds of fashion.
Behind Second Street Mall is The Warehouse, a fantasia of midcentury bravado that would be at home in Miami Beach and is at home at the gorgeous antiques show in Round Top, Texas, where owner Jeff Scofield sells (and buys) twice a year. News flash — Scofield has revamped the old auto shop at the corner of West Dodds Street and South College as a second location. He affectionately calls it “The Cube” and it contains gobsmacking pieces.
In its new home at 118 S. College, Lola Rue & Company maintains its own brand of vintage country-chic style with gently worn artifacts for home and garden, everything the colors of whitewash, sand, and tree trunks in winter.
That grim stone building at the corner of West Kirkwood and South Madison Street could be the setting for a top-rated Internet escape game. Foreboding aside, The Garret Antiques holds mysteries of design and technology to snare the senses of any erudite antiques aficionado.
The Bloomington Antique Mall is two blocks north, on West 7th Street next to the B-Line Trail. Housed in a 1920 warehouse once used for wholesale groceries, it’s an antiquer’s paradise — three levels of top quality furniture and collectibles, lots of natural light, and plenty of atmosphere. Vintage jewelry lovers will adore Booth 200 on the top floor.
Just around the corner at 236 N. Morton St., A.Z. Vintage supplies midcentury necessities, with furniture, barware, luggage, clothing, and accessories that glide from The Dick Van Dyke Show to Mad Men and back again.
Following West Kirkwood to the corner of Maple Street brings you to two small shops, Time Flies Antiques Gallery on the south side, and Found right across the street. Time Flies mixes old and older with gentle agility. Found carries retro consignments, including authentic artifacts from Bloomington’s hippie past.
Now off to the west. B-Town Flea Market, on the south side of West 2nd Street just after you pass Landmark Avenue, is an amusement park of American pop style. A cross between a garage sale, thrift store, and church bazaar, it has the best of each. Expect to spend a pleasant hour or two in reverie over forgotten toys, games, and TV show collectibles. Practice saying “I used to have one of these.”
Westbury Antique Market is a spacious new venue just off West Arlington Road — the former home of Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington — west of Ind. 37. By now you might think you’ve seen it all, but somehow the hundred or so vendors here have found rare and quirky objects to surprise even the most blasé collector. One shopper was overheard saying, “You could come here a hundred times and still never see everything.”
Pamela Keech is the author of The Best Flea, Antique, Vintage, and New-Style Markets in America published by The Little Bookroom, 2013.