Southsider Voice correspondent
In what she called her “401K closet,” Lois Schern of Wanamaker got serious about collecting and stashing unusual and hard-to-find items.
Three years ago, when her retirement wish finally came true, she opened a retail spot at Manor House Antique Mall and named it Lois’ Luxuries.
Along with a display of Gorham, Mikasa and Waterford crystal, Schern offers everything from hand tools from the 1950s to cookie jars and tea pots, walking canes and Snow Baby figurines.
In another area of the store, Melody Virgne of the Southside smiles at the fact that browsers will likely find nearly anything unexpected on her shelves.
“I collect anything that catches my eye,” Virgne said with a grin.
Those who have a hankering to decorate a wall with a 12-foot, fully restored marlin hit the jackpot at Manor House. The trophy fish is displayed only a few steps away from Virgne’s shop, awaiting the arrival of its next proud owner.
Dealers who provide quality merchandise make this 7,500-square-foot treasure hunt a success, said Manor House owner Suzanne Most.
Now celebrating its 20th year in business, Manor House opened in 1996 at 5454 S. U.S. 31 before relocating to Meridian Shoppes, 8039 S. Meridian St., a few doors down from Vito Provolone’s. The move was necessitated as the shop’s old building was destined for the wrecking ball.
Unusual marble sculptures, Henredon and Ethan Allen furniture, leaded glass lighting rescued from the renovation of the Hilton Hotel and numerous other high-quality items define Manor House as the home of upscale vintage finds, Most said.
Her love for antiques began as a child. After watching family members cherish items with stories already attached, she was not a bit surprised when antiques followed her into adulthood.
“The items here have lasted a very long time,” Most said. “And they continue to endure.”
The newest face on this friendly antique scene belongs to Miriam Smith of Greenwood. Near the entrance, she has proudly claimed a place to sell her creative ideas for repurposing doors into furniture, made tangible by her husband, Marcus Smith.
“I am so glad I found this place,” Smith said. “It’s just so fun here.”
Within these walls, merchants and customers are often longtime friends. They know each other by name. Through the years they have watched one another enjoy milestones of life. They have also comforted one another during times of loss and disappointments, said Most, adding that this is a business of heart and soul.