Antique Store Gets a Fresh Vibe

Town and Country Antiques 2 in Eau Claire geared more toward younger demographic

Rebecca Mennecke

Town and Country Antiques 2 is aimed at a younger demographic of shoppers.
Town and Country Antiques 2 is aimed at a younger demographic of shoppers.

When long-time collector Sylvia Gengenbach opened Town and Country Antiques 2 (222 Main St., Menomonie) two years ago, she discovered that the store had a completely different customer demographic than the original store, Town and Country Antiques (224 Main St.).

Most people are under the age of 40, often stopping by from UW-Stout, and looking for completely different things. For two years, she envisioned a totally new antique store to cater to that demographic. On Aug. 1, she’s hoping to make that dream come true with a totally new vibe.

“We’re really excited to see our vision finally become reality,” Gengenbach said.

Town and Country Antiques 2 will now offer fashion jewelry, vintage clothing, music, DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, and more. Gengenbach has always said, “If you have a sign that says ‘antique shop,’ people will come.”

For some people, visiting vintage shops is for finding something usable. For some, it’s to find home décor or cooking wares.

“People also come in here because it’s nostalgia,” Gengenbach said. “Part of it is the experience.” Over the years, they have sold oddities such as a high-wheel bike from the 1800s. “That’s the joy of the antique store,” Gengenbach said, “you never know what you’re going to find.” 

Gengenbach appreciates the interactions she has with customers and visitors. Compared with their first store, Town and Country Antiques 2 will be a little more “intimate,” she said.

She’s limiting the number of shoppers to 10 at a time in Town and Country Antiques and five at a time in Town and Country Antiques 2, and she offers hand sanitizer and face masks – along with a slew of antique treasures.

“If we don’t have it,” Gengenbach joked, “it’s possible it was never made.”