Home décor trends come and go, but one theme that remains consistent is accenting a space with items that have a backstory or gravitas—like displaying a loved one’s vintage school pennant or a treasured collectible from childhood. And Ages Past Antiques in Minocqua can help capture some of that nostalgia and need for a connection to the past.
At this almost 9,000-square-foot, 12-year-old antiques mall, vendor booths are carefully stocked and merchandised, and owner Michael Bauer is a seasoned retail vet—after all, he and his wife Tracy Grigus own three other stores in the area and he has been in the retail business for 30-plus years. His Step Up and The Shade Tree shops in downtown Minocqua sell gift and home décor items and books, respectively. He also operates No Boundaries, a clothing and gift shop in Boulder Junction.
Having grown up in the area with family still nearby, Bauer knew this is where he wanted to be. He likes being his own boss, and loves the thrill of buying, merchandising and selling items. At Ages Past, learning the history of items that come in and seeing new things every day is what keeps him engaged with his customers. New pieces come in almost daily, which keeps it fresh for customers.
He carries about 20 to 25 vendors year-round, and items span from the late 1800s to the 1960s. (Although Bauer says he has a few fossils in the shop, too!) Some notable treasures that have come through his doors have included a 75th reunion pin for the Battle of Gettysburg that was passed down through family, and Ralph Capone’s gun—who was Al’s brother.
“That’s the part of the antiques business that’s really cool—seeing all of the different, unique things from the past,” says Bauer.
Ages Past Antiques, 8714 Hwy. 47 S, Minocqua. 715-358-9775, agespastantiques.net
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