Owner explains concept of unusual store
PLYMOUTH — About five years ago, it used to be Angie’s Junk Garden. Now, the antique shop at 1431 W. Jefferson St., just east of Dairy Queen and across from Family Express, is owned and operated solely by one man — Jonathan Stigler. The shop has no discernible name or hours of operation, but what is does have is an incredible collection of uncommon and distinctive antiques. Those lucky enough to stop by while Stigler is refinishing furniture, unloading new finds, or arranging haphazard displays usually find what they are looking for, said Stigler.
“50 percent of the time (customers) come in knowing exactly what they want,” said Stigler. “The other 50 percent are just curious. Most of what people are looking for will be here — I can find it for them.”
Sitting amid a collection of industrial-style sculptures, Stigler explained that his shop isn’t “your typical antique store.”
“It’s a fun place,” said Stigler. “You never know what’s going to be in here. We had a life-size baby elephant for a while, before it sold. You will find things here that you will never see anywhere else in your life.”
Stigler splits his time between the Jefferson Street shop and his other shop in Burr Oak, right on State Road 17 next to the railroad tracks. The Burr Oak shop, he said, is formatted more like a gallery and attracts Culver tourists and Culver Academy parents.
“I keep the Burr Oak store at only about one or two layers high,” said Stigler, gesturing to the contradictory four or five layers of stacked furniture, art and oddities in the Jefferson Street store.
Stigler also does interior design and has worked on designs for many local homes as well as previously doing contractual design work for T.G.I. Friday’s and Cracker Barrel restaurants.
As for his unpredictable hours of operation, Stigler said that he likes to be free to travel to buy new items. He admits that not having normal hours may upset some potential customers, but added, “I think they would be more upset if I was supposed to be here and I was gone to Pennsylvania (purchasing items).”
He gets his eclectic business style from his mother and grandmother, who sold antiques during his childhood in Manhattan, Indiana. It was more of a hobby for them than a main source of income as it is for Stigler.
Stigler is willing to travel nearly anywhere for an unusual piece, but said he recently likes to stay within the Midwest. Two of his favorite places to find items are Shipshewana and Chicago. He stays abreast of decorating trends, but said that what’s “in” now is the no-rules approach.
“There’s no rules anymore in decorating,” said Stigler. “You can do what you like. It’s wonderful because people are able to express themselves now more than ever before.”
Pieces that are popular include “anything that you can drop a sink in” to create a vanity, and painted furniture. Stigler himself likes oversized items, and pointed out an example: a king and queen of hearts painting quite a bit taller than he is. Other of his favorites include massive wooden tables and trunks. Stigler buys new items every day, but never online.
“Feel and touch is everything, with everything,” noted Stigler.
He said that items he sits outside the shop on the lawn sell the quickest, and he admits to thinking carefully about what he displays outside. Although the pieces are left out overnight and in inclement weather, Stigler said he rarely has any problems with theft or damage.
Stigler’s plans for the future are to continue doing exactly what he loves.
“I will do it until I stop liking it, and when I stop liking it I will close my doors,” said Stigler, continuing, “The most fun part is the people. I could probably write a thousand books about the people I’ve met. (The shop) can pretty much accommodate anybody, and that’s the beauty of the place.”
Stigler said that he is usually at the Jefferson Street store Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Shoppers can also make an appointment by calling 574-276-5482 or emailing, email@example.com.