BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — For years, the Maumee Antique Mall has been a fixture on Reynolds Road.
Opened in 2004, the building was originally purchased by owner Bob Mix to expand the parking for the Maumee Sportsmall, but the space had great potential, and soon, more than 200 booths and showcases full of antiques, vintage items and modern finds filled the nearly 110,000-square-foot space.
“Location-wise, you can’t find a better location than what we’ve got,” Mix said. “We’re right off the turnpike, we’re right off of I-475 and we’re in a great community with a good neighborhood.”
Mix is grateful for the opportunities the location has provided and the support the community continues to lend to the shop.
“We have a customer base that’s from all over the place – it’s from all walks of life,” Mix said. “We have people from all over that come here and part of that reason is our location. You can’t find a better location for what we do here and the size of the building. We get a lot of dealers that smaller places can’t have.”
With location and size drawing in both dealers and customers, it leads to good business, Mix said. Dealers from several states around the area have booths inside the store, with one dealer living almost eight hours away in Philadelphia.
The popularity drives up the interest of dealers and ensures a steady supply of products and dealers to feature.
“Right now, we have a waiting list for booths, and we’ve had a waiting list for years,” Mix said. “We try to rotate dealers when we get an open spot, but we don’t get too many open spots.”
The dealers provide a large mix of products – always intriguing for customers are sports paraphernalia, coins and vinyl.
Dealer and part-time worker Tom Johnson said there are consistently interesting items making it onto the shelves, but the stories behind many of the purchases are often his favorite part.
Several items that have been purchased from the shop are bought for movie props and dealers can then see their item on the big screen. More personal purchases, though, are the most memorable.
“A guy came in and he was looking for stuff his grandfather made in downtown Toledo in a mold shop. He had nothing from his grandfather, and he was able to find some wooden molds, and if you flipped them over, his grandfather’s signature was on them,” Johnson said. “To see a 6-foot-4, 300-pound guy start crying because he found stuff from his grandfather is something you can’t beat.”
He’s also had customers find their grandparents in the background of photos on postcards, in yearbooks or in newspapers. Moments like that make the job worthwhile, he said.
At the Maumee Antique Mall, workers have also seen an increase in purchases of games and books – especially since the pandemic started. Some of the most popular items on the shelves are toys from the 1980s.
“This group is coming back in now to get their toys,” Johnson said. “It’s something they can share with their kids.”
The booths can help customers take a walk down memory lane – finding nostalgic items that remind them of grandparents, their childhood or other important memories.
It’s also a great way to score unique finds. Some customers have walked away with autographed pictures, vintage clothes, bigfoot statues and more. There is always something on the shelves to appeal to customers.
“If you can’t find something here that interests you, you’re not really looking. Something here will catch your attention,” Johnson said.
Also inside the shop is a deli, so many customers can visit and take a lunch break before getting back to shopping. It’s not uncommon for regulars to peruse the aisles several times a week, or even several times a day, hoping to score that once-in-a-lifetime deal.
“That’s just how fast our stuff rotates. Dealers bring in new stuff every day,” Mix said. “Somebody that’s looking for something might not have seen it yesterday, but they’ll find it tomorrow. The good dealers are always putting new things in their booth.”
To find whatever they’re looking for, customers can visit the Maumee Antique Mall at 1552 Reynolds Rd. from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.