Focus on Arizona: G-Whiz! Glendale’s Glenda antiques guides Granny

Granny G’s Shady Nook in Glendale, Ariz., is well known for antiques and collectibles from the Victorian era to the 1950s – as well as its unusual moniker. Glenda and Mo Stanley, owners of the shop, have been in business for 17 years, but when they changed locations seven years ago because of redevelopment, they renamed their business Granny G’s to reflect the move and also to celebrate Glenda’s status as a new grandma.

Before she ever considered having an antique shop, Glenda was a collector first, focusing on antique dolls from the 1860s. But even throughout her years working at the family insurance agency, which she and her husband, Mo, bought after they were married, she had shopkeeping in her blood, and rightly so. Her grandpa owned a used furniture business, and her aunts and uncles were dealers at flea markets and auctions.

The 3,500-square-foot shop is neatly arranged in many themed vignettes, making the store easy to navigate and a particular item easy to find. The children’s section offers Uncle Wiggly, Disneyana, tin toys, game boards, dolls, desks, pedal cars and Dick and Jane readers. Little nooks throughout the store contain kitchen effects, pottery, glass and automotive memorabilia. There are also travel, military, sports and Western sections throughout the store.

The wide variety of merchandise in the shop comes from the Stanleys’ travels, estate sales and from people who bring things in to sell. One dealer comes all the way from Minnesota, and others “from everywhere in between,” according to Glenda Stanley.

Stanley said books are their mainstay, and book lovers who visit the shop can browse through more than 1,000 titles from the mid-1800s up to the 1960s. There is a little bit of everything from vintage paperbacks to cookbooks, and from mystery novels to sheet music, as well as children’s books and more, she said.

And, Granny G’s customers aren’t the usual antique shoppers seen around the area, looking for jewelry and dishes, said Stanley. In her shop, most customers can be found looking for unusual, odd things like paper ephemera or quirky little things, such as the selection of 1920s and 30s cast iron miniatures of people and animals to put in dollhouses. These popular tiny figurines, which include milkmaids, farmers, train porters, skiers and skaters, were made in England or France according to Stanley.
One family from Prescott, Ariz., visits the store a few times a year to buy Victoriana. “They want their daughters to learn to appreciate things done by hand, like folk art and handcrafted linens,” said Stanley.

Also, the store gets a lot of people involved with home schooling who come in looking for old textbooks, history books or globes, as well as crafters who are looking for supplies for jewelry making, quilting or scrapbooking. Stanley said, “They love to dig through the breakfront full of antique buttons, notions and jewelry parts that lend themselves to creative thinkers.”

Stanley said another big draw for customers is her reasonable prices. She said she keeps prices comparatively low because the shop is not in the walking part of Glendale – it’s around the corner from the antiques row.
Although Stanley auctioned off her antique doll collection years ago, she said, “My kids would say I still collect too many things.” Among her collections are little cabins, tree pictures, tin toys, sand buckets, dolls, books and anything Wizard of Oz, and Mo likes Lone Ranger and Tarzan collectibles. Stanley said she enjoys her collections not just for their history, but for the stories that go with these old things.

She said she enjoys having the shop for the same reason – the stories that people tell of why something connects to them. “Customers are thrilled when they find the exact book or plate that they had as a child. Several times people have found a schoolbook with their name in it from way back when.”

And it’s this personal connection that keeps antique shop owners in business. As Stanley said, “Almost everything has been affected by the Internet or eBay, but there have been antiques shops for centuries and there always will be. There will always be people who want to touch and smell things, people who want to dig through a basket to come up with their own treasure. Antique shops will always be here.”

Granny G’s Shady Nook offers lay-away, mail order, book searches and a wish list. They also rent some of their merchandise for props for movies or plays. Shop hours are: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays by appointment only. The store is located at 5303 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, AZ. The phone number is 623-939-1462.