HIBBING — Antiques, collectibles, vintage and repurposed pieces cover every nook and cranny of the old train depot that houses Remember When Antiques off 19th Street East in Hibbing.
The old West Hibbing Train Depot built in the early 1900s is considered a fitting location for the antique mall.
Remember When Antiques was established by Shirley Vlatkovich in 1994 and was once located on Howard Street. The 2006 sale of the building forced a core group of dealers to search for the perfect location. In 2008, Jonne Molesky, Sharon Oothoudt, Laurel Shannon and Julia Gingerich secured space in the old train depot where the quartet continues to have a vested interest in the business.
Since the move, additional dealers came aboard, all sharing the same passion for buying and selling collectibles. Merla Romano, Trish Russ, Nancy Reed and Roz Marchetti, along with the core group, now form the dynamics of this unique business.
Although there is a for sale sign on the building, they say that should not deter anyone from stopping in to browse the organized array of items on display. The staff are friendly and enjoy visiting with locals and anyone passing through town.
The store is open six days per week with each dealer working an average of three days each month.
Molesky acts as the manager. She keeps books for the business, makes schedules and coordinates special events as well as doing other miscellaneous tasks. Molesky took an interest in antiques while exploring crafting projects — and one thing led to another. “We are not going to get rich, but we enjoy older items and do not like to throw things away,” she said. “We like to repurpose."
So what type of treasures can one expect to find inside? Antiques, collectibles, vintage, repurposed items, dishes, furniture, wall décor, old books, board games, vinyl records, dolls, and much more fills every square inch of the space.
Patrons have the option to bring items in to sell directly or on consignment. The options vary depending on which dealer is working that day.
The first weekend in November — commonly known as deer hunter opener — marks the store's annual holiday sale. Homemade jelly, salsa, horseradish, antipasto and bread appear from additional vendors during the sale. And one of the more popular items year-round is the local honey.
As the weather warms, the group expects to once again entertain the idea of hosting a flea market in their parking lot. They tried last year and felt that it is something they would like to offer again, inviting vendors to participate. Anyone interested is invited to contact the store for details.
Romano, an antique dealer, said her experience in the business dates back to the 1980s. Her husband, along with a partner, owned an antique store in Washington. "Everyone has their style," Romano said. "It makes things interesting as they add their touch."
She attributes her interest in antiques to an experience she had while on the road with her husband in search of unique treasures. "We were the American Pickers before there were American Pickers.” Smiling, Romano explained how they would hit the road and stop at random places to ask owners if they had an interest in selling a specific item. Over time, Romano branched off on her own and is content with where her path has taken her.
Russ, another dealer, is no stranger to retail merchandising and sales. She previously owned another business in town and leans on that experience to enhance her current role. "My grandparents and parents had merchandise in antiques, so I have always been around them, and I loved them."
Russ enjoys talking to customers. She noted that some people come back regularly to search for a particular article or piece. Russ is also known for adding a special touch to the displayed items throughout the store.
Both Molesky and Romano are now working harder than ever to promote their business. After being in operation for the last 12 years at the same location, they’ve been surprised to learn that many locals do not know Remember When Antiques exists — and the owners are determined to change that.
They hope more people will stop in and when they do, they’ll likely feel as though they’ve wandered back in time. No computer systems with expensive software can be anywhere on the premises. Rather, good old-fashioned receipt pads, notebooks and pens work just fine for this group. To keep things “simple,” the only forms of payment they accept are cash and check.
Anyone interested in checking them out can do so six days a week.
The winter hours are Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In summer, the hours are extended. For more information, visit the store at 341 E. 19th St., Hibbing, or call 218-263-8720.