An old church building in downtown Columbia City has been brought to life by three Whitley County entrepreneurs who had a vision and a mission to bring a vintage and antique store to town. Sharon Geiger, Ann Fahl and Lori Kreider joined forces to open The Vintage Antique Marketplace in a quaint and charming old church located on the corner of North Chauncey and West Jackson streets. While their new marketplace has been open since August 16, a Grand Opening celebration has been planned for the weekend of September 8, 9, and 10 to officially introduce the new business to Columbia City residents as well as visitors from throughout Indiana who are expected to attend.
The owners foresee The Antique Vintage Marketplace evolving into a Northeast Indiana tourist attraction. “We plan to carry an eclectic mix of quality antiques, vintage and upscale décor,” they said. “We want to provide customers with timeless antiques and trendsetter pieces.” The spacious Marketplace, with nearly 10,000 square feet of floor space, rents out booth space spanning two floors of the church to area vendors who have been chosen to participate based on their quality reputation. Currently around 40 booths operate at the marketplace, with room for up to 15 more.
Various themed rooms are located throughout the building. The former sanctuary on the main floor of the building, which features the old church’s beautiful stained glass windows, is called Antiques and Heirloom Treasures and filled with antiques and rustic and primitive treasures that complement the building’s quaint ambiance. The store’s expansive checkout counter, meanwhile, occupies space at the front of the church, near what once served as an altar
Behind the sanctuary is the Farmhouse Room, which features unique handcrafted furnishings made of solid wood—such as TV cabinets, bookcases, and a wide variety of other furniture styles—along with vintage and handcrafted décor items with a farmhouse or coastal motif. Adjacent to the Farmhouse Room is the Garden Room offering quaint and rustic planters, plant stands and garden décor unique to this area.
In the spacious, multi-roomed basement, customers will find a large variety of treasures, such as:
· Repurposed and Upcycled Furniture
· Country Living and Farm House Décor
· Classic Retro and Trendy Chic Décor
· Vintage Wedding Décor (some of which can be rented out for weddings)
· Mid-Century Modern Furniture and Décor
· Do-It-Yourself Paint, Brushes and Other DIY Supplies
In addition to all of the above offerings, the basement also features booths selling handcrafted chocolate, cheese, canned meat, beef jerky and beef sticks, as well as home-style noodles.
The Gathering Room, a quaint basement room filled with round tables and chairs with seating for up to 50 people, will be used for workshops and special events, and can be rented out for private parties and bridal showers. Eventually the owners plan to open a café in The Gathering Room, which is adjacent to a full commercial kitchen.
The Gathering Room also will be used for The Marketplace’s own special events. “We are planning several events every month, and we also will be having different classes every two to three weeks in our Gathering Room,” the owners said. Do-it-yourself workshops will provide instructions for attendees to learn how to create their own vintage or repurposed décor items, as well as classes on sign making and various painting techniques related to home furnishings and trendy chic decor.
The three business owners are well known in the Columbia City community, as they have owned local businesses and been active in the Downtown Business Alliance. Geiger has operated Interior Designs by Sharon for 25 years, Fahl is a broker for Orizon Real Estate with 28 years of real estate experience, and Kreider has more than 35 years’ experience with antiques and also works on the family farm. The three operate The Marketplace for the V.A.M. Investment Group, LLC, and thank the building owners, Billy and Jenny Reffit of Reffit Investments, for the opportunity to use the church for their new venture.
The Vintage Antique Marketplace is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. The store is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Gift certificates are available, which the recipient can use toward purchasing store merchandise or for enrolling in classes at The Marketplace.