Glenwood Antique MallThe new mall in Overland Park gives a home to displaced dealers and a new venue for antique enthusiasts and collectors. (photos give just a sample of the eclectic mix of treasures to be found at Glenwood Antique Mall)
By Leigh Elmore
Photos by Patti Klinge
The Kansas City metro area is served by a variety of quality antique malls. From Olathe to Lathrop, from Platte City to Grain Valley antique malls surround the region, and every month the West Bottoms in downtown Kansas City erupts into a weekend of frenzied buying and selling with the numerous dealers concentrated there.
Kirsten and Andrew Roland, owners of the Glenwood Antique Mall in Overland Park, Kansas. (photo by Patti Klinge)
Yet, for the last year, antique and collectible fanciers south of the Missouri River and north of Olathe have lacked a convenient mall in which to exercise their vintage desires on a daily basis. When the well-regarded Mission Road Antique Mall closed last year, it left a vintage void in the heart of the metropolitan area.
Some of the dealers from Mission Road began looking for an alternative. The mall's management had attempted to find a new location for the mall, but nothing was economically viable.
While many lamented the loss, Andrew and Kirsten Rowland, the owners of Lily's Estate Sales, realized that an opportunity had landed right next door to their storefront sales facility in a strip shopping center located at 9030 Metcalf Ave. in a building formally occupied by T. J. Maxx.
The view from the front of the mall.
"We had been approached by several vendors from the closed Mission Road Mall," Kirsten Rowland said, emphasizing the fact that "we are not the new Mission Road Mall."
It is the Glenwood Antique Mall, taking its name from the beloved Glenwood Theater, which originally was located across 90th Street to the south. Kirsten grew up in the area and often went to see movies at the theater.
The Glenwood Antique Mall is now the only large antique mall located between Olathe and downtown doing business on a daily basis. "We feel like we're in a convenient location for many people," she said.
The Rowlands said that 180 dealers are currently participating in the mall, most from the immediate region, but some from out of state as well. The Glenwood Antique Mall has 37,000 square feet of display space. Walking into the space for the first time, one is struck immediately by how well-lighted the store is. "It's something people remark about," Kirsten said.
"We still have to install the display cases for 'smalls," Drew Rowland said. "Several dozen more dealers will be here after that. It takes
time and attention to set them up and maintain them." The Rowlands are allowing each vendor to style their own booths, including drywall dividers on which to hang items.
"Most of the space is occupied now," Kirsten said. "There are still a few booths being assembled." With installation of the glass display cases, the Rowlands expect to host several hundred vendors soon.
The Rowlands carefully curate what is sold in the mall, restricting items to true antiques, collectibles and vintage items. Kirsten said that they have had to say "no" to some dealers based on the type of merchandise they wanted to sell.
Growing up in retail
Both Andrew and Kirsten Rowland got their career starts in the retail business. Drew grew up in a Penney's family, where his father spent his career. "We would talk retail at the dinner table," he said. Drew went on to work for Penney's himself and was not particularly interested in antiques and the vintage trade until later.
Growing up in Stillwell, KS, Kirsten learned her love of antiques and such from her grandmother. "And she would always take me to the Sebree Gallery in Kansas City," which fueled her appreciation of art and artists.
When the world learned that money could be made buying and selling items on eBay, the Rowlands' lives changed. Drew realized that people would pay good money for "stuff" that he had little interest in, but soon learned were valuable to others – things like items relating to tobacco, shaving razors and jewelry. "We knew jewelry," Drew said.
"Learning to sell successfully on eBay was a PhD in itself," Drew said. They would go to flea markets, such as the one held in Sparks, KS, and buy up the remainders in lots, load up the van and sell the best of it online. I sold more Zippo lighters on eBay than anyone else for a while."
It became such a time-consuming, but profitable venture, that they both left their regular jobs to devote everything to the family business. "We did that for a year, and it became a real vocation for us," Drew said. "It enabled us to get into the estate sale business, and we formed Lily's Estate Sales at that point," first located in Old Leawood.
Lily's Estate Sales is an off-site sales facility, for the last two years located in the storefront next door to the Glenwood Antique Mall. It consists of 8,000 square feet of space, where estate items are displayed in a well-lighted area. Opening the antique mall has consumed the Rowlands' time over the last few months, and they have not held any sales recently, they plan to resume in the near future when the throes of opening the mall settle down.
Estate sales are time-consuming, Drew explained. "There are three phases to a sale. First is the set-up. Then the sale itself. Finally, it's the clean-up. We'll take the remains to an auction house to dispose of usually." Opening the mall has distracted them from the estate sale business temporarily. "We'll start back up very soon," he said.
All in the family
When we say the Rowlands operate a family business, we mean that all of their four children participate. Lily's is named for their youngest seven-year-old daughter. Twins Payton and Jonas are 17 and Daisy is age 8. "All are involved in the business," Kirsten said. "They are very important to us. All our regular customers know them."
The Rowlands plan a major grand opening event this month after first opening the doors at the first of the year. "But we have been moving a ton of merchandise out of here already," Drew said. "It's very exciting."
Long-time antique dealer Jerry Bailey is very impressed with the new venue and its owners. "Kirsten and Andrew are true visionaries," he said. "They can see things in the marketplace 10 or 15 years out," said the Overland Park resident.
Bailey operates two booths at the mall, one devoted to country primitives and the other to the Mid-Century Modern style. Now that's covering one's bases.
"I could tell right away that this is a place that I wanted to hitch my wagon to," Bailey said. The retired education professor finds collecting and selling antiques to be an intellectual challenge that he's been at it for 50 years now. He re-creates his collections every seven year or so to coincide with buyer trends. "That's what got me into country and primitives recently."
"The Rowlands have created the best mall in the region. People need to come and see the world-class merchandise. There's no other mall that has this feel," Bailey said.
"Some customers are already showing up every day," Kirsten said.
Business hours of Glenwood Antique Mall are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Leigh Elmore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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