A Minnesotan’s Guide to the Best Antique Shops

I’ve been told time and again that I’m an old soul. My obsession with antiques started as far back as I can remember. From the vintage books that I preferred reading as a child, to my awe over beautiful tea cups that belonged to a grandmother who died before my time; my soul has always longed for the things that came before me. One of my favorite childhood memories was when my dad decided to pull out his old record player and vinyl collection. I remember filing through the box of records, oohing and awing over the covers, and picking out the ones that I found beautiful. I lined them up in a big circle on the floor around the room, and danced round and round to the classics.

Now as an adult I fill my house with beautiful antiques, and my soul feels at home while I’m listening to the likes of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. When it comes to antiques, anything with beauty, history, and a story belongs in my home – even if the story isn’t directly connected to me. I love imagining the people that owned the antiques before me, and how they too treasured what I now have.  On a deeper level, everyone wants to feel connected to something or someone, and buying antiques is one of the ways I do it. With each unique item I fill my house with, I’m becoming part of a story that will live past even my time.

Because of this love, I find it only necessary to share with you some of the best places in our state to find antiques. Each of these stores has great finds at great prices!

1. Annabella’s Antique Mall & Cafe – 407 2nd St, Bovey, MN 55790
(218) 245-2055
Annabella’s is in a small iron range town in northern MN. This shop is quite innovate for its location with a great coffee shop, a speakeasy they rent for parties, and chalk painting classes. They have two levels worth of antiques ranging from statement pieces, to refurbished furniture, and little inexpensive finds. The store itself is adorable and everything is in fabulous condition. I have a beautiful old scale from them in my kitchen that I get compliments on all of the time. What did it cost me? A whopping $15. I looked up the cost of something like that online after I purchased it and it’s typically $40 – $70! I was so happy I scored that crazy deal. When you shop at Annabella’s make sure you get a chai tea latte from their coffee shop because it tastes IDENTICAL to a chai that has won awards at a coffee shop in Uptown, Minneapolis.

2. Second Time Around – 18581 MN-371, Brainerd, MN 56401
(218) 829-1224

This second (or third or even fourth) hand shop is near my childhood home. I have spent many hours getting lost in their shop. I love it and find KILLER deals here. Let me warn you of one thing though… It’s not beautiful, and you have to be willing to get dirty and dig a little bit. I still remember the first time I brought my husband there after raving about it for years. He walked in, took one wide eyed look around and said “THIS is where you shop? It’s definitely not what I expected.” I just had to laugh, because yes it isn’t pretty, but yes you can find awesome stuff there! I turned my Mom onto it several years ago, and she now has several of their items in her home. I have a collection of clear glass apple shaped plates and bowls from the 1960’s that I started from this shop. In my search to complete the collection, I realized how much everyone else charges for what I found there. Three of the apple bowls typically sell for $20 or $30 at other shops. I bought my plates for a whole twenty five cents a piece at Second Time Around! Truthfully, it’s really great as a customer, because sometimes they don’t realize what they have there. I have beautiful tea cups, a night stand, a vintage side chair, and a wicker side table from them. I don’t think I paid more than $25 for each item. Some of those things were a bit worn, but some were nearly perfect! If you are up for the adventure of this place, I dare you not to “judge the book by its cover”. You will see exactly what I mean when you pull into their gravel parking lot and wonder why there are white tents all around the building. Trust me…. you want to dig in those tents. You can find some treasures hiding in there!

3. Staples Mill Antiques – 410 Main St N, Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 430-1816

This antique of a building dating back to 1850 holds some treasures as well. Being the second mill to ever be built in Stillwater, this building should be seen and explored for it’s beauty if nothing else. Over time it has been used as a sawmill, flour mill, and manufacturing company among other things. Search through this multi-level beauty and their vast collection of antiques to find the piece you have been desiring for your home. Here you will find anything from fine antique furniture, to rare glass pieces, to vintage clothing. Stillwater is a wealthier area, so you can even find high quality antiques here. Although their prices are a little bit steep for my taste (I’m a cheapo), this place is filled with gems.

152814972.qifGSkQjStaples-Mill-Antiques_640

4. Brass Bed Antiques – 102 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802

(218) 722-1347

This is hands down my FAVORITE antique shop on the planet. They have fabulous prices and unique finds. Two of my favorite pieces I have in my home (a Japanese cherry blossom wall hanging and a large metal vintage MN lard tin) are from this store. I go here once a year and leave with my arms full. I encourage you to take your time and spend at least an hour here. There is nothing spectacular about the building, but their inventory is fabulous. You can find dishes, old sporting equipment, vintage clothing, and furniture all at extremely fair prices. They even let you barter – usually 10% will be taken off the item if you just ask. Push a little harder if you think the price is unfair, and have them call the owner of the booth you found the item in. If you are in to finding rare antiques, here is a story you will enjoy. I had family members in there who fell in love with a pair of pale blue glass candle sticks. When they got home, they looked them up, and there are very few left in existence today. This shop clearly has very good things.

Know of an antique shop that deserves to be in a future post? Comment below or e-mail madaboutminnesota@gmail.com

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