A closing chapter for historic downtown business

Posted: May. 20, 2019 4:57 pm

For a half-century, local shoppers and visitors visited with Show-Me Antiques owner Ila May Dimmitt to find items from a bygone era.

But when she fell at the store in February, the injuries forced her to close the door she opened faithfully day after day. This weekend, it will open one more time for a liquidation sale.

For decades, Dimmitt opened her store at 320 N. Main St. at 9 a.m. and closed at 5 p.m., balancing the cash register at closing time. Sara North owns the building, and she and her husband, Frank, also operate Becky's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor next door. She sat at a table at the ice cream shop chatting with Angela Hammond, who is supervising a weekend sale of the store's antiques. The stock spans generations — including bottles, postcards and unopened vintage toys.

There was also a sign on display sharing the longtime owner's gratitude to her customers and announcing that she would not be reopening the business.

Like the many customers and neighbors who came through the store over the years, Hammond has a close connection to Dimmitt's store and America's Hometown. Her high school sweetheart grew up in Hannibal as well. About six years ago, he traveled from Oklahoma with his wife to visit his parents for their 50th anniversary. Hammond suggested he visit Dimmitt, because she “always has anniversary stuff.”

“The first time I was in her store, I was 16 years old,” she said. “And I remember her store because the back room had a set of blue and white china that my parents had that they left when we moved from New York.”

North agreed that the sale would be a fun experience and “therapeutic for everybody” as they discovered and shared items like vintage paper, Hannibal City Directories, cookbooks, Mason jars, costume jewelry, geodes and other surprises.

“It's kind of like a 'saying goodbye' liquidation sale, really,” Hammond said.

She had already sold two items — an 1880s puzzle card with hidden pictures and a tonic advertisement on the other side and a card of diaper pins adorned with blue chicks from the 1960s.

North agreed, sharing stories about Dimmitt's encyclopedic knowledge of each of the items and fixtures in the store and her daily routine.

“She beat me down here almost every day,” North said.

She pointed to shelves in the back room, recalling that Dimmitt knew how they got there after serving as bleachers in the old Hannibal High School building. And she said that Dimmitt's knowledge and adherence to her daily routine were as sharp as ever at the age of 99.

Hammond said the sale will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 24 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Many of the antiques will be priced based on type — including blue Mason jars for $10 and Hannibal tourism items for $1 — while other items will be half-price. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, remaining antiques will be offered for free.

Hammond and her colleagues from Our Treasure Cove are excited about the opportunity.

“When you walk into her store, you go back in time,” Hammond said.


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