Get lost in Jeffrey’s Antique Gallery in Findlay
Story and photos by Laurie Pressel
“Everything old is new again,” are the lyrics from a 1970s song, but could be the motto for Jeffrey’s Antique Gallery in Findlay.
Located right off I-75, exit 161, the sprawling 38,000-square-foot complex is Northwest Ohio’s largest antique mall, drawing visitors from across the country in search of relics from the past.
The popularity of television shows like “American Pickers,” “Pawn Stars” and “American Restoration” has spawned a new generation of antique hunters, according to Cindy Edinger, accounting manager at Jeffrey’s. “Our customers don’t fit a mold — they are all ages and backgrounds,” she said.
Walking into Jeffrey’s, one quickly discovers why it’s been a “Readers’ Pick Winner” at Ohio magazine for three years running. The sheer diversity and volume of items for sale — from glassware to furniture, record albums to jewelry, porcelain statues to toys — is incredible. Three hundred antique dealers rent booth space at Jeffrey’s, displaying treasures they find at garage sales, estate sales and auctions.
“Many of our dealers add new items every month,” said Edinger. “And most booths are stocked from floor to ceiling.”
Carol Tong has met fascinating individuals and heard some unusual stories during the 14 years she’s worked as a sales associate at Jeffrey’s. Many customers simply want to browse through the mall and wax nostalgic over items from their childhood. Others are looking for a specific item of china or glassware to replace an item they broke, or they want a piece of local history — like Fostoria or Tiffin glass.
Eclectic collectors from all parts of the country take road trips to Jeffrey’s in search of items to add to their collection.
“I never cease to be surprised by the types of things people collect, from milk glass to knives, thimbles to deer heads,” said Tong.
Old tools fly off the shelves, a favorite of customers who enjoy woodworking and construction.
“Customers tell me the quality is so much better with these old tools, and they don’t make tools today like they used to,” said Tong.
Vintage and rustic are currently hot trends in home décor and party planning. Many customers visit Jeffrey’s because they have seen an idea on Pinterest or HGTV and want to recreate it. According to Tong, popular items right now are old doors and windows for home décor, ball jars to use as fresh flower vases for rustic barn weddings, and assorted vintage tea cups and saucers for garden tea parties.
Around the holidays, people wander into Jeffrey’s looking for a bizarre item to give as a white elephant gift. The strangest item every sold at Jeffrey’s? A stuffed alligator, says Edinger.
While the sales associates at Jeffrey’s are happy to help customers find what they are looking for, the store is so huge that even they don’t know about every item waiting to be discovered.
But the hunt, and the hope, is part of the appeal.
“Antique hunting is a stress reliever, and I think that’s why people love it so much,” said Tong. “Nothing beats the thrill when you find that treasure you just can’t live without.”
Jeffrey’s does not conduct appraisals and all items are priced by individual dealers. Jeffrey’s is open 362 days a year, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Enjoy the day
You can spend a few hours or the whole weekend browsing through Jeffrey’s Antique Gallery, 11326 County Road 99, just off I-75. When you get hungry or thirsty, check out these local favorites nearby:
Dark Horse, 4136 N. Main Street, Findlay, rated “Best Breakfast in Town,” Americana food.
La Charrita, 3210 N. Main Street, Findlay, Mexican grill cantina.
Gillig Winery, 1720 Northridge Road, locally crafted wines and bistro menu.