Insider’s Guide to Bay City Antique Stores | Catch My Job


Whether you need to spend a day or a weekend, Bay City is a treasure hunter’s paradise for antiques, vintage and collectibles.

Here’s an insider’s guide to some of the antique stores that make this area home.

Bay City Antique Center and the Bay Antique Center

A local couple has made downtown Bay City a destination for antique collectors and shoppers for nearly four decades.

When Bill and Elaine Fournier opened Bay City Antiques Center at 1020 N. Water St., they did so for more space.

“We used to do gigs all over the country and buy overseas, so here we mix things up,” says Elaine. “We do a lot of European pottery and vintage clothing.”

Downtown Bay City gave them plenty of space and put them a short drive from I-75, making it an easy trip for out-of-town visitors. The building was also attractive because of its history. Before the antique store was located, 1020 N. Water St. housed Rosenbury’s furniture, and before that the Campbell House Hotel,

“We have 63,000 square feet,” he says, adding, “That’s an entire city block and three floors of antiques.”

In 1989, the Fourniers bought the building next door at 1010 N. Water St. and shared the space with Scott McIntyre, who opened the Bay Antique Center. The Bay Antique Center is home to several hundred dealers with individual booths.

“We’re like a huge retailer in the mall,” says Elaine. “The hours are the same, but we have a huge, huge booth.

Collectibles trends have come and gone over the years, and according to Elaine, what’s old will always be new.

“The business is constantly evolving,” he says. “From Victorian furniture to oak furniture, then pine furniture, then back to Victorian, then Mid Century Modern; things go out of fashion, then they come back in.”

The key to the success of their business is selling what they personally love.

“You’re attracted to people who like the same things,” says Elaine.

Currently, people are buying primitives from the 1800s, such as pasta bowls, spinning wheels, breadboards, and other items. They also have recovery salvage items and record albums.

“We learn from the collectors, and the beauty of this business is that everyone has different interests. It should have a wide spectrum of goods to satisfy all interests.”
Americana Antiques carries antiques as well as vintage and collectibles. (Photo courtesy of Americana Antiques)
Americana Company Antiques

A block away at Americana Company Antiques, 912 N. Water St., Howie Diefenbach is the second generation in the business. His family started with Fourniers. After running a booth at the Bay Antique Center for a decade and seeing how things worked, he says they found the bigger space and started filling it.

“It’s not that we thought we could do it better, just differently,” he says. “We started with a room with a few dealers with the intention of growing.”

Within a few months, the third and fourth rooms of the building were filled and there were merchants everywhere.

At Americana Antiques, people buy a variety of items, including toys from their childhood. (Photo courtesy of Americana Antiques)Diefenbach originally said he didn’t like the idea of ​​calling it a mall, but with 20 retailers leasing space, it’s a mall concept. While it’s similar to other antique malls in many ways, Diefenbach says he wants to keep his focus on vintage and antiques.

“Usually when you focus on antiques and vintage, there’s that clarity and certain expectations when someone walks in the door. They’ll know they’re going to find something that’s old and they don’t have to sift through it and decide whether it’s contemporary.”

Diefenbach explains the difference between antique, vintage, collectible and contemporary.

“The antique is considered 100 years old. Vintage is a relatively new term. Some people say that if it’s 25-50 years old, it’s vintage, and 50 or more is collectible or antique.”

He says he can’t find anything younger than 25 years old in his store, “which sounds crazy because Beanie Babies are 25 years old. The key to our existence is to keep things old but collectable.

He also tries to give his customers an idea of ​​the past.

“We want to create an atmosphere that is a destination,” he says. “When you walk in our door, there’s Yogi and Boo Boo so people can take pictures with the two of them, and we have some antique arcade games that the kids can play from 1933. They’re not for sale, but they are. to see how things used to be.”

Over the past 30 years, Diefenbach says he’s seen a lot of changes in what customers are looking for.

“They are younger with disposable income – their tastes are changing. Or they leave their belongings behind, perhaps due to the death of a relative, and they don’t want it, they don’t need it, so there are plenty of dishes, glassware, and ceramics. What they’re interested in is what they had when they were kids – the toys from the 70s, 80s and 90s, vinyl records. We were able to adapt to changes and trends, and we were able to change.”

Retro Attics Studio and Warehouse

Outside the city center is the Retro Attics Studio & Warehouse, with locations at:
At 1123 Saginaw St. and 207 Third St., Retro Attics specializes in furniture, home decor and art, including vintage and industrial items. Vintage-inspired decor is also planned.

As a bonus, the store is clearing out old stock and running a fall sale. Check Facebook for details.
Finest Antique and Home Decor is now closed as the owners prepare for their annual Christmas themed show. (Photo courtesy of Finest Antiques & Home Decor)
The best in antiques and home decor

One of Bay City’s newest vintage stores is The Finest Antiques & Home Décor at 2832 Midland Road. Rick Schmidt and his wife, Annette George, opened their doors just over three years ago, but Schmidt has been collecting for over 30 years.

“We have a lot of stuff that you can’t find anywhere else,” says Schmidt. “You won’t find it in any store in the city or state of Michigan.”

An avid collector, Schmidt travels across the country to find the thousands of unique items that fill his store.

“Right now, Pyrex, cast iron, rusted iron, hunting items – old wooden bows – old furniture and refurbished and painted furniture are the hottest,” says George.

Unlike downtown stores, The Finest Antiques carries new items and repaints furniture to match a particular decor.

“We make some new stuff to make it look old, and we actually buy vintage and antiques to go with the new stuff,” he says.

Mid Century Modern is currently a big seller. “We just made a huge estate full of it.”

The shop will be closed in October so George can set everything up again for the Christmas opening on Saturday 5th November.

“We do Christmas like no other store does. We do new and vintage Christmas and I get almost all the other stuff out of the store,” she says.

While Christmas is the main shopping season for many items, antiques and collectables are popular all year round. The shops in this area try to offer new things to their customers every season to keep them coming back.

“You create ways for people to come back. We feel privileged to be a part of it. You want them to enjoy their time in your store, but you want them to keep coming back.”


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