“Customers say it’s like walking through memory lane,” said Rhonda Hammock about her Encore Emporium, which sells antiques and collectibles.

“Customers say it’s like walking through memory lane,” said Rhonda Hammock about her Encore Emporium, which sells antiques and collectibles.

She has 55 vendors, and “with 55 personalities, that’s what makes this store work.”

Plastic covered kitchen chairs, vinyl-top tables, and glass Pyrex dishes with lids are among the best-selling items Nancy Bowman displays in her booths.

People are seeking these “retro” furniture and dishes from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, Bowman said.

“People from St. Louis and Texas and California are  buying it. … That’s the thing they are collecting.”

This is not just an area fad, Bowman added. “I went to Palm Springs and (at antique stores) most was retro furniture.” Bowman, of Palmyra, has three booths and also sells older items.

The store, owned by Rhonda and Kent Hammock, has seen an increase in business in just two weeks, since moving from Paris Gravel Road to the former Wright’s Furniture building at 109 S. Fourth St. in Hannibal. It is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Rhonda is glad she can provide handicap access at the new location, and she has a wheelchair for her customers. She left plenty of room in the aisles, and enjoys all the open space in this large building.

The store has no available booth space, and Rhonda reported she has a “big waiting list.”
“We have buyers from Texas, Mississippi, Wisconsin and California,” Rhonda said, as well as St. Charles and St. Louis.

She works with the other local antique stores, she added, and they advertise together.

People are buying antique dishes for weddings, she said. “They come in for teacups and saucers, or Ball jars.”

Calling herself a “repurposer,” Rhonda said. “We ‘repurpose’ old furniture, such as a small table with spindle legs she had repaired and painted mustard yellow.

Some people are looking for furniture, while others collect only one type of antique. One of them is Nancy Brummell of Hannibal, who had selected a carved wooden strawberries pin on Tuesday, June 10.

“I only buy jewelry,” Brummell said. “I have a wooden carved turtle and wooden carved flower pin. And I buy a lot of red beads and black beads.”

Brummell said she also was a “repurposer” - only of jewelry. “I buy broken jewelry and revamp it. When you see me, I almost never have it on. … And I never sell it.”

Being in the midst of all these collectibles is tempting, said Carol Chaplin, who works for the Hammocks. “I just love all of it. It’s hard to work here and not take it  home.”

With the Fourth of July soon to arrive, Americana items are becoming popular, Rhonda said. One booth owner has painted old shutters red, white and blue.

And Rhonda’s son, Jason Christy, has painted the American flag on a large barn door.

One special item is not for sale - a wooden replica of the Mark Twain Riverboat, made by Kent Hammock in about 1980. He used toothpicks for the deck railings. It is on display in the store window.