Antiques find their way to local homes through Mt. Hope store

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Cindy Wachter opened the store Memorial Day weekend, following her passion for antiques and her dream of having the building be a store again.

Inside the store, there are a variety of items for sale that will interest people of all ages. (Photos by Rachel Mergen)

By Rachel Mergen

 

“It was important for me to have it as a store again,” Cindy Wachter, owner of Mount Hope Mercantile, stated about the building her antique shop occupies. The store opened Memorial Day weekend and calls the same location home that the Lansing Store once did years before. 

The building, which also once housed a bar and a sewing shop, was constructed in 1865. 

After losing her job of 17 years, Wachter’s husband pushed her to open her antiques to the community, and she recognized the importance of having the old structure return to its store roots. She stated that she had always loved antiques and wanted to be able to bring them to the local community. 

From the moment of her original idea, she was able to open the store in three months. She is proud to be able to bring to the community her interests, along with retro candy and basic household items. 

There is something for everyone in the little store. For children, there is ice cream and unique sweet options.  Wachter’s candy collection, which delights children who visit, features products like gummy bears, rock candy, lemon heads and bubble gum. She believes her candy is a standout part of her store, because it interests people of all ages. Older visitors enjoy searching the store for special valuables to take home with them.

The antiques include primitive and collectable items. Can vending machines, china, chairs, rocking horses and signs, along with other interesting merchandise can be viewed and purchased. 

Wachter recognized the importance of also having necessary, basic items available to those in the local area. She noted that most members of the town have to drive to larger municipalities like Prairie du Chien to purchase products like bandages and paper towels, so she wanted to help avoid lengthy travel times by adding them to her inventory.

Wachter’s favorite antique is a 1946 Great Lakes U.S. Navy graduating class photo. This item stands out to her because her daughter recently graduated from the same U.S. Navy institution. She told about how she was “ecstatic” when she found the treasure. 

Wachter stated that one of her favorite parts of owning the store is listening to customers’ stories about the history of the building and town. She remembered one visitor who described watching movies across the street that were projected onto a sheet. 

“Everyone has a story,” she observed.

Wachter enjoys seeing the excitement on locals’ faces as they realize once again a store has been added to the town, ready to bring to them an interesting place to visit regularly. 

On the Mount Hope Mercantile’s Facebook page, one review from Barb Hoff Abb-cutchins voiced, “We loved looking around at all the things that we had as children or that our parents/grandparents owned, and, of course, we had to take a few things home with us. [We] can’t wait to stop in again to see Cindy and to get some of that candy.”

In the future, Wachter hopes Mount Hope Mercantile becomes a sort of “destination.” She hopes customers will come regularly and that her success will expand throughout the years. 

The business was started suddenly, but Wachter knows that it was the right choice for her. She hopes that the community will embrace and enjoy her antiques just as she did in the years prior to the opening of the store.

Mount Hope Mercantile is located at 104 Main Street, Mount Hope. The store is open Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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