Small-town antiques mall is an inspiration for the antiques business

On our way to Madison, Wis., to watch the WIAA girls’ Division 2 basketball championship game March 24, we pulled the car in to the Pardeeville Antiques Mall lot on a whim. We had a bit of time to kill and what better way than spending it browsing 100-year old whatzits and whatnots.

Pardeeville is a small town in south-central Wisconsin with a population of only about 2,000. Less than an hour’s drive north of Madison, with Wisconsin State Highways 22 and 44 intersecting there, the town is easy to get to and easy to find. (The Pardeeville Antiques Mall is located at 103 Industrial Drive, just off Hwy. 22.)

attractive antique mall booth  Photo courtesy Pardeeville Antiques Mall

We had never visited – or even heard of – this particular antique mall before and had no notion of what we’d find, but since the small parking lot was nearly filled, we took it to be a positive sign of good antiques inside.

Housed in a functional, single-storey metal building with the word ‘ANTIQUES’ prominently displayed across the front is a conglomeration of more than 95 dealers displaying wonderful selections of antiques, collectibles and vintage-inspired decor.

We were greeted at the Pardeeville Antiques Mall with a friendly “hello” by the staff and an enthusiastic “HELLO!” by the antiques. We found two levels – not just one – filled with clean, quality antiques all in well-lit and beautifully presented “booths.” (I use that term loosely here, because some of the dealer spaces are set up as “rooms,” complete with walls, or even rustic buildings.)

I found myself drawn to the upcycled antique window sashes that now serve as message and chalk boards, but that was only the beginning. I found myself wishing I could spend more time weaving my way through all the booths. I heard other shoppers voicing the same sentiments: they, too, thought there were great antiques and wished they could spend more time here.

This antique dealer’s booth is set up like a cozy, rustic cabin.

From architectural accents and antique tools to Frankoma pottery to really nice graniteware selections, I couldn’t believe the high quality was consistent through the entire mall. We’ve all been in those establishments where you visit booths (or basements) that seem to be filled with regular booth cast-offs and rejects. There was none of that here. The lower level (it’s really too nice to be called a basement) carried the same high quality merchandise, good lighting and creative design and organization as the upper level. (I regret not taking a photo of the stairway wall leading to the lower level that is covered with cast iron pans.)

I asked about the consistent quality of antiques throughout the mall, and Barb Kitson, who owns the Pardeeville Antiques Mall with her husband Matt, said they encourage their dealers to stock at least 85 percent antiques and maybe 15 percent collectibles. But, she said, it’s up to them … they don’t really police it. She said the mall space is full and there are dealers waiting to get in.

Well, the dealers who are lucky enough to be set up in the Pardeeville Antiques Mall seem to be doing it right; Barb says they’ve been really busy and the mall will be marking its sixth anniversary this summer.

attractive antique mall booth  Photo courtesy Pardeeville Antiques Mall.

What I expected to be a pleasant way to kill an extra hour of travel time was actually an inspiring visit that will come to mind every time I’m in south-central Wisconsin. I’m excited for the opportunity to visit again – soon. I consider this a must-visit antiques shop.

The Pardeeville Antiques Mall is located at 103 Industrial Drive, Pardeeville, WI 53954; business hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and can be reached at 608-429-9393.

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P.S. Congratulations to the New London Lady Bulldogs for winning their second Division 2 championship in back-to-back seasons! They’re the reason we were on the road in Pardeeville in the first place!

Warman's 2013 Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide