COLUMBIA — More than 150 antique dealers are searching for new venues or selling down stock to prepare for the closing of The Market Place antique mall at the end of March.
Owners of the property on Business Loop 70 West plan to rent the space to Ferguson Enterprises Inc., a plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical supply company based in Virgina.
The deal depended on the Boone County Zoning Board of Adjustment approving a conditional use permit. The board met Feb. 11 and approved construction of an enclosed 72,000 square feet of outdoor storage space and a truck loading dock on the west side of the building, according to Megan Eldridge of the city clerk's office.
Denise Vaughn, director of corporate communications for Ferguson, said the company plans to open during the late third quarter or early fourth quarter of this year.
Many Market Place dealers will remain in the Columbia area. At least 22 of them are already selling items at Plume, Artichoke Annie's, Veranda and Midway antique malls.
Dealers have posted signs in their Market Place stalls, notifying customers of their relocation plans.
Dee Pippin, an antique and small gift dealer since 1979, is making plans to move some of her stock to Artichoke Annie's off Interstate 70, east of Columbia. She says she is selling the rest at an auction later this year.
"I think the younger people just aren't interested in buying little knickknacks." Pippin said.
She continues to discount her current stock, even offering some free items. She said sales have been up in the past few weeks.
"High FaLootin' Junque" co-owners Jane McKenzie and her daughter Pam Wilson have been in business at The Market Place for 11 years and are searching for a new location. McKenzie said they received several offers but have not made a final decision.
"We will definitely remain in the Columbia area," McKenzie said.
Some dealers are leaving antique malls completely, opting instead for stores focused on specific merchandise.
Kelly Penn, a Market Place dealer, is already relocating items to Plume, a new store on Hoedown Drive specializing in repurposed furniture and handmade gifts.
Plume's owner, Kelly Gilion, opened her store in November and sells items for more than 55 vendors. Gilion sells dealer items on consignment rather than leasing booth space, like other area antique malls.
Six dealers are in contact with Gilion, and she anticipates more in the coming months.
Lavon Gish, co-owner of Veranda Antique Mall, said 10 dealers have already rented space in the mall "and more are trickling in every minute."
Columbia Pool and Spa will remain in the building, said Craig Hurst, co-owner of the lot and owner of the pool company.
"Columbia Pool and Spa is a tenant just like The Market Place is a tenant, just like Ferguson's might be a tenant" Hurst said.
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