Our Neck of the Woods: So, what made you want to expand to the Stage Stop building? It seems to be a good fit, an antique store and production company sharing the same space.
Lynn Smith: Yeah, it is a great fit and a great place to stage antiques. Also there is a lot of talent around and they look at my antiques when they go downstairs to get their props and costumes.
ONW: That’s awesome! How’d you get into the antique business?
LS: I started collecting salt and pepper shakers at garage sales about 40 years ago. I was always looking for the next cool piece, so I started looking in antique stores- it was a whole new world! I went totally crazy. At one point I had around 1,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers. I sell a lot of my sets in my store now, and have gotten to be known for my collection!
I opened Treasures-N-Tiques when the previous owner needed to get out of business. I was in the store one day and she said to me, “Lynn, you probably have enough antiques to open a store,” and I said “Sure I do!” She wrote down a number and I said “SOLD!” That was it. I came out to my car and said to my family, “I’ve just bought this building!”
ONW: So now you have two fabulous buildings?
LS: Yes! In our original building we have vintage clothing, glassware, collectibles, and all sorts of wonderful stuff. In our new building, the 371 Stage Stop, we have a more rugged collection of tool chests, sleds, furniture and more rustic pieces.
ONW: What makes your stores special?
LS: The customer service. I always say that I don’t make a lot of money, but I make a lot of friends. And it’s true! I like to work with the customer that comes in the door and see if we can’t find just what they’re looking for. I also like to tell the history of a piece if I know it. I’m not afraid to get dirty, so I get some really good stuff in some really dirty places. I like to say that I like anything big, heavy and rusty.
ONW: Aside from your collection of salt and pepper shakers, what else are you known for?
LS: I’m the only one in the area selling vintage clothing. I have a lot of vintage clothing, from the 1940s to the ‘70s. I get a lot of people who come all the way up from the Twin Cities to buy clothing. If you have your mom’s or grandma’s old clothing, please do not throw it away. Bring it in! I’ll buy it.
I also love to find and sell art pottery, such as Red Wing Pottery, noisemakers, furniture, anything. I mostly deal in American antiques, rather than European, and mostly from 1900 on.
ONW: Do you ever find anything interesting when you buy estates?
LS: Always. You’ll get old pictures in frames. Tucked inside the frame, behind the picture, is all sorts of things. Money, marriage certificates, and once I found a signed oil painting that had been covered by a photo from a magazine. I hate to get rid of the old photos- especially the wedding photos. I have a wall in the store filled with old wedding photos I’ve found, and even a couple of the marriage certificates that have been behind photos in frames.
ONW: What an interesting piece of history!
LS: That’s really what we’re selling here- history. On the individually made pieces, you get to know the person who made it. It puts you in touch with what they went through, and it touches your heart.
Check out both of Lynn’s stores, Treasures-N-Tiques and the 371 Stage Stop, on Highway 371 in Jenkins. See the unique furniture, collectibles, glassware, salt and pepper shakers, and vintage clothing- and don’t forget to say hello to the chicken on the roof!