SHOP TALK: Dogtown Rustics offers antiques, gifts for community
Dogtown Rustics Antiques, Gifts and Collectibles, located at 993 S. Mission Rd., has five rooms filled with all different types of antique items such as quilts, picnic baskets, bicycles and more.
The antique store is a family-owned business that is now owned and operated by Lisa Jourdain. Dogtown Rustics was originally owned by Jourdain's mother before she decided to retire after 45 years of business.
All the items at the store come from 45 years' worth of collections, estate sales and auctions.
Jourdain works to make sure that her mother's efforts continue, and that even the name of the store does not change. Dogtown Rustics is named after a village, named Dog Town, that used to be an old dog sledding town, Jourdain said. For this reason, Jourdain aims to keep the name and the store's purpose alive.
Besides Dogtown Rustics, Jourdain and her family also own Pere Market and Antiques in Clare, and a party store with antiques in Loomis.
Central Michigan Life sat down with Jourdain to learn more about Dogtown Rustics Antiques, Gifts and Collectibles.
Central Michigan Life: Why did you choose Mount Pleasant for this business?
Jourdain: Well, this (business) is my mom’s. She’s done this for 45 years. So, I just sort of liked doing it with her and now she’s retired. We used to be in downtown Clare ... (but) this building (in Mount Pleasant) sat here ... So, I moved my business from downtown Clare to here because I like Mount Pleasant, and Mount Pleasant doesn’t have anything like this anymore. I just thought it would be good for the community.
Why did you want to operate an antique shop?
I enjoy the customers and I enjoy the cool things that you find. The furniture built back then is nothing like what it is now — it lasts forever.
What is the most exciting thing about owning an antique shop?
You never know what you’re going to find, and the customers are awesome. You meet new people every day and it’s just fun… I love it. Sometimes you can take something and make it into something different with an antique piece, so that’s pretty cool.
What is the oldest antique that you have here?
(The oldest antique is) probably the 1900 cupboards and quilts. We have a lot of quilts that are dated 1903 (and) 1907. Then (we have) our primitive cupboards. We try to deal with primitives, and they’re mostly like 1900 cupboards. I mean everything is old in here except for the new gifts.
Where are the antiques coming from?
We owned a 2400 sq. ft. building, so we have a lot of stuff in storage right now. My mom has collected for 45 years so she has barns, and when the barns would get full, she had a pole barn ...You know, I’ll go down there and find something that somebody wants. I can usually go find it in her barns or our extra pole barn out back. Right now, we’re not buying things because we have so much stuff.
Are all the items in your stores from stuff that your mom has collected over the years?
It’s both of ours. (Some of the items are things) that I (had) in the past for my other store. We have a lot in storage — and my husband, he’s always finding a piece (for the store). My mom is pretty much retired now, she’s 88. So, she’ll pick up something here and there. She still likes to do it, (and it) keeps her going.
Do you have an antique that you’re most proud of or do you have a favorite type of antique?
I have a lot of cool cupboards in my house. We collect ice boxes and big cupboards, and I like red, white and blue quilts. So, I guess I like it all ...We also added gifts to our antique shop, so it’s not just antiques. We have a lot of candles, signs, wreaths and pillows. Since our name is Dog Town ... I have dog items as well (such as) dog beds, dog collars, dog keychains and all that kind of stuff.
What are some unique antiques that you don’t see often that you guys have or that you have personally?
Old Coke machines and old Coke signs. We have a porcelain Coke sign that we have over at the other store ... I think everything is unique when it gets to be a certain age because you can’t find it anymore.
What did you do before owning an antique shop?
I worked at a dental office. I used to own a store in Shepherd and then in Loomis. We still own the Loomis party store, but that has antiques also. Then we got the downtown Clare (location), and then we came here. So, I’ve always sort of dabbled (with antiques).
Do you have any items that customers tend to love or tend to be drawn to?
(Customers) come in here and pretty much like everything. People come in here and say, "We’ve never seen such a nice variety or quilts anywhere else, like you guys have a lot of nice quilts here." Then (they talk about) the cupboards ... Everyone has their own little thing they’re looking for.