Downtown Saline’s newest store is a love affair with sweet nostalgia and beautiful art.
Friday afternoon a gathering of friends and local officials celebrated the grand opening of The News Arts & Antiques, located at 106 W. Michigan Ave.
The store was opened by Donna and Lisa Southwick. Donna is an antique dealer who will be known to those who frequent the Ann Arbor Antiques Market and Saline Antiques Market. Lisa is an engineer in the automotive industry.
Their market features carefully selected antiques, the work of local artists and other Michigan-made goods.
“It’s a place to find things that you remember and make you feel good. It’s a space where you can find things that people will love and enjoy. It’s about finding the treasure that you love, or maybe that someone else loved before you,” Donna said.
A walk through the store inspires a rush of nostalgia. There are worn leather skates on the ancient hardwood floors near the entrance. A wooden toboggan hangs from the bare brick wall. A wooden frame surrounds a technicolor map of the word where the USSR is the largest country on earth. That map sits in front of four “Saturday Evening Post” coffee mugs. An old-fashioned wagon sits loaded with antique dolls, wooden trucks, baseball gloves and more.
“My favorite thing is when someone our age walks in and sees something and gets excited because they remember their father or their grandmother had something just like that. These things bring back sweet memories for people. That’s what I love most,” Donna said. “I love picking. I love looking for things and trying to find that treasure. It’s so much fun.”
The antiques are only part of the mix. The Southwicks have worked with local artists to create a showcase for local art. Some of the art will look familiar to many Salinians. Kelsey Keyes displays here “can capes,” colorful art made from pop cans. Keith McGuire’s stained glass turtle painting is featured prominently. Linda Klenczar is showing a series of small pastel pieces. Another thing shoppers will notice are decorated women’s hats throughout the store. They’re the creation of Rachelle McDaniel.
“Through Kelsey Keyes, I began meeting more people from Two Twelve Arts Center. Then, unexpectedly, the center closed. I started talking with artists and realized the Saline lacked a gallery. So, we decided to try and merge arts and antiques,” Donna said.
It’s not such an easy marriage, Donna explained. Art spaces tend to be clean and antique spaces tend to be cluttered. With some help from McGuire, the Southwicks developed a plan they like.
The opening of the store has been a long time coming. The Southwicks bought the building in July of 2015. When they first purchased the building, they spoke of plans for Yoga and health and wellness. Last winter, they decided to try a pop-up antique store just before the holidays.
“When we opened last winter, we received a terrific response. Not only were people buying our goods, they were telling us to stay. They said Saline needed more retail,” Donna said. “So, we started looking at the area and we realized that health and wellness was fairly well represented in the market. We spoke with people like David Rhoads and Karen Carrigan and we decided retail was the way to go.”
Donna knew she wanted an antique market.
“I grew up with five generations living in hour home. I loved the things that my grandmother and my great-grandmother had,” she said.
When her grandmother died five years ago, Donna went and collected her things.
“I just couldn’t get rid of anything so I took it home. But I began to realize I couldn’t keep everything, so I began to sell things,” she said.
Once she entered the market, she learned she loved “picking,” the challenge of finding the treasures that would connect with people.
Of course, they also needed to work on their old building, which was known to most to a couple of generations of Salinians as the office of the Saline Reporter.
In this aspect of the business, Lisa Southwick played a larger role.
“With the antiques and art and the store, I mostly help with support,” Lisa said.
But Lisa’s engineering background came in useful as they stripped drywall and plaster off the walls, tore up layers upon layers of flooring, replaced rotten floor, installed new lighting and ceilings.
Apparently, the newspaper staffs maintained a boring office or they hid their tracks well.
“The only strange thing we found was an apron in the ceiling,” Lisa said.
Donna said she wasn’t intimidated by the construction. Her father was in construction. Her brother helped. And besides, she said, “I renovated my first house in Detroit at the age of 17. So, nothing about this scared me.”
After meeting with local artists, the Southwicks settled on the mix for their business and a name. It was to be called Main Street Arts & Antiques. They’d already ordered business cards and named their LLC when Kelsey Keyes excitedly approached them with an idea.
“Wait, wait, wait. Have you named it yet? We were driving by the old newspaper building and we thought, you should just call it The News,” Donna said, recalling Keyes’ idea.
“We were all standing there in dead silence for a minute. And then all of us went, ‘Oh, we love that,’” Donna said. “It was a great homage to the Saline Reporter, which was an important part of Saline for so many years.”
The News Arts & Antiques is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information visit the business Facebook page or call (734) 316-7900.