The Old Market has always been the place to find those unique items…things you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Nowhere is that more true than in the variety of antique shops in the area.
Whether you are looking for a specific item, enjoy antiquing, or just like to spend the afternoon reminiscing, each of these shops is a must-see and a great way to spend the day with friends.
While a bit off the beaten path, The Antique Annex, located at 1125 Jackson St., is a small shop that offers a lot. Owner Joe Dempsey opened the shop nearly two years ago but has many years of experience in dealing and selling antiques.
“We’re kind of in a weird location and don’t get as much traffic as a lot of other stores,” he says. This presents a great opportunity to find that treasure before someone else does. He explains the dealers he works with focus in on more decorative household items. “We deal a little bit in the more high-end stuff. You don’t have to search through a ton of [stuff] to find the nice things…they’re already here.”
Dempsey says that the hot items people are searching for now are furnishings and accessories from the 1950s: Lucite chairs and more industrial-type items. “We get a lot of kids finding things for their apartments.” Many are looking to give their downtown loft a unique, retro look. But he also sees everyone from moms to high-end collectors. “We see a little bit of everybody.”
Just across the street at 1116 Jackson St. is Second Chance Antiques, an Omaha staple that carries “pretty much everything from clothes to furniture,” says Elysia Jarvis, acting manager of the shop. “We get new stuff all the time. That’s the fun part. People will come in almost weekly because they know there will be something new to look for.”
It was Jarvis’ mother, Susan Hoffman Brink, who opened Second Chance in 1971 and loved every minute of the 40-plus years she ran the shop. Brink passed away last April, but it was her dream for the business to continue. Her family and friends are dedicated to making her dream a reality. They are currently in the process of moving to a new location, just west of the Old Market on 14th and Harney streets. Quite the feat, as the two-level warehouse is packed full of fun finds: The basement is full of retro-style clothing and accessories. The main floor holds everything else you can imagine: dishes, décor, furniture, old photographs, and knick-knacks.
Some items have an obvious use, while others…well, the usefulness is in the eye of the buyer. “We find Pinterest has helped us a lot,” says Jarvis. “We can’t keep a door knob in-stock because people use them [to make] coat racks. People come here because they know they can’t get [these things] new. So it makes some really, fun unique things.”
“It’s better than Ikea!” exclaims one family friend who helps out at the store. This eclectic shop, as well as its eccentric team, makes Second Chance a fun place to get lost for the afternoon.
Another fun place to get lost antiquing is Fairmont Antiques & Mercantile. From the outside, it appears to be a retro-candy store, but venture a little further inside, and you soon discover that the shop not only appeals to your sweet tooth but to the sweet memories of your childhood and beyond.
“We specialize in an experience,” says General Manager Mark Kocsis. “When people come in, we like to give them a big ‘Wow!’” Owner Larry Richling opened the shop in the old Fairmont Dairy building at 1209 Jackson St. nearly three years ago, combining his retro-candy business and his antique business into a one-stop wonder-shop.
Along with the candy shop, the store offers many kinds of sodas, “Mostly retros and things you haven’t seen in years.” Deeper into the shop, customers will find treasures that will immediately transport them back to a simpler time.
This store offers more than antiques—it offers nostalgia: record albums, posters, toys, classic metal lunch boxes, clothing, furniture, even classic signage and historical hometown memorabilia. After you’re done shopping, take time to enjoy the authentic soda fountain or catch a classic film in the store’s private movie theater.
“If you just sit here and watch people come in…boom! They get this huge smile on their face,” says Kocsis. “That is so neat to see.” With items from over 25 dealers and new pieces coming in daily, visiting Fairmont will be a new experience each and every time you walk through the door.
1125 Jackson St.
Second Chance Antiques
1116 Jackson St.
Fairmont Antiques & Mercantile
1209 Jackson St.