This is a piece I recently wrote for NOCO, an online magazine for North St. Louis County....
Why buy typical chain-store gifts when you can shop local and find something unique? NOCO contributor Annie Haarmann says one of the best places to shop this holiday season is right here in NoCo – at the newly relocated Generations Antique Mall in Old Town Florissant:
Stepping into Generations Antique Mall in Florissant transports you to a different era, or rather, several different eras. Whether you’re looking for a unique item to enhance your home or a special gift to spread the Christmas cheer this year, you can find it here.
Store owner Laura Schulze and her family, lifelong Florissant residents, have been antiquing for more than 18 years. They decided three years ago to open an antique mall in Old Town Florissant, choosing a small storefront on rue St. Francois, but they recently moved into the Henry Albers house, a charming, 1860s dwelling on St. Catherine that formerly housed the Fleur De Lis Tea House.
“The 150-year-old house has a lot of character and serves as the perfect place to showcase beautiful antiques,” Schulze says. “And the former owner, Kitty Smith, still maintains the gorgeous gardens outside.”
Schulze recommends instead of standing in line at the big box stores or fighting for a parking spot at the mall, shop locally and pick up a truly unique vintage gift. “Most of the time, items made in the 1960s and older are better quality, will last longer and are more valuable,” she explains. “Vintage gifts are the best way to go for Christmas, weddings and birthdays. Antiques tend to hold their value.”
Her mall features 35 different merchants who display their own pieces. “Because we have so many different vendors, there is a wide variety of items and you can see a lot in one location,” explains Schulze. Most of the exhibitors are local to the area.
“Shopping here isn’t like running into the store for something you have to buy like shampoo. It’s more of a fun, feel-good experience. There is something for everybody,” says Schulze.
With so many antique stores in the St. Louis area, what keeps people coming back to this gem in North County? “One thing we offer that people really like is our ‘Wish List’ of items people want. Someone will say, ‘My grandma had such and such when I was a kid and I’d love to get a hold of one.’ If they’re looking for something in particular, we keep an eye out for it and when we find it, we let them know we have one.”
And of course, there’s the shop’s co-manager, Daisy, a four-year-old Boston Terrier. “A lot of people come just to see Daisy,” says Schulze. Daisy makes sure the shop runs smoothly and takes care of day-to-day operations such as inventory, bookkeeping and being adorable.
So this year, before you study the Thanksgiving ads or stand in line at 5 a.m. waiting for the stores to open, why not check out Generations Antique Mall? The antiques passed on from one generation to the next are truly the gifts that keep on giving.
Generations Antique Mall is located at 250 rue St. Catherine, 63031. Phone: (314) 831-6070 Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10-5
Annie Haarmann is a writer, marketing guru and aspiring farmer who lives in Old Town Florissant and writes one very funny blog. She also photographed all of the images for this story.