The “Antique Capital of Michigan” is a mere 15 minute drive from campus, in Allen, Michigan. Founded in 1830, the historic town has a population of about 200. Allen offers a motley collection of small shops and antique malls, which provide ample opportunities for adventure and a fascinating day trip.
The Hog Creek Craft and Antique Mall spans over 23,000 square feet of antique booths to explore, offering a paradise for the antique aficionado. A different dealer rents each booth in the store, ensuring a broad selection of antiques. Booths contain vintage books, china, farm equipment, and a surprising number of duck statues. One unexpected gem was a giant Civil-War era hay rake, still in functional condition. One could easily take multiple days to thoroughly investigate what every booth had to offer.
The smaller stores in Allen were often staffed by their owners, which added a more personalized, unique touch to the display and inventory. Country Cabin is a quaint antique store located near Hog Creek. The storefront boasts teacups, dishes, decanters, cookbooks, furniture, and even a stunning crocheted lace collar. A cacophony of vintage electronics reside in the back of the store.
Tom Everett and his wife, the owners of Country Cabin, have been in the antique business for 22 years and have owned this store in Allen for two years.
Everett said that his business hasn’t suffered from competition with the large antique malls.
“Everybody shops everywhere,” he said. “The big thing is to have something that they want.”
Everett said he takes special interest in vintage electronics, especially radios, while his wife runs the rest of the shop. He received his first radio, a vintage model from the 1930s, when he was 13.
“It still works,” Everett said. “I’ve still got it.”
This radio kick-started Everett’s interest in antique electronics. Today, he also repairs radios in addition to selling them.
Everett also said he tries to keep the prices at Country Cabin lower than the prices at Hog Creek Mall.
After visiting Allen, Sophomore Rosemary Surdyke found a 1970s camera that she said “definitely belonged to a hippie.”
Senior Ryan Burbage returned to campus bearing the memory of a large felt rat statue wearing a dress. He termed this a “ROUS,” or a “Rodent of Unusual Size,” in reference to the classic film “The Princess Bride.”
Sophomore Lucy Fernandes decided to buy a mug on this trip, but she also considered purchasing a 1940s prayer book.
“I saw this beautiful leatherbound prayer book from World War II that had both Catholic and Protestant prayers,” she said. “I was struck by the comfort it would have given someone going into war. I wanted to get it in case I ever have a husband who goes off to war so I could give it to him dramatically, but I figured that wasn’t the best motivation, so I left it.”
Hog Creek Mall is located at 10750 W. Chicago Road., Allen, MI. The website, http://www.hogcreekmall.com, lists the mall’s hours and offers further information. Country Cabin is located across the parking lot from Hog Creek. Other popular locations include Allen Antique Barn, located at 9247 W Chicago Road, Allen, MI, and The Livery, which is at 106 Prentiss St. in Allen.