Newton’s Antique Store Guestbook Shows Customers Shop Out of Town and Out of State – Newton Daily News

Varieties full of antiques as eclectic as the customers who regularly walk through the doors. In fact, owners Arie and Diane Versendaal say their downtown Newton antique shop gets more out-of-town visitors than locals. At least, that’s what their guestbook says.

The book rests on the counter of the store at 118 N. Second Ave. W.. A recent music festival in the town square attributed to a small increase in out-of-state patronage (Arie said patrons from North Carolina and South Carolina were members of the Marshall Tucker Band) , but other pages show similar trends.

People come from Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin – everywhere. Diane said these customers don’t just visit Varieties, they stop at many stores around the town square. Other guestbook entries show visitors from across the state heading downtown as well.

Knoxville Raceway fans and Tulip Time regulars often visit the store, browse the shelves filled with art, antiques and treasures, maybe find something they like, then strike up a conversation. with the Versendaals. This kind of experience is pretty typical for local business owners.

“It’s kind of interesting,” Diane said from behind the shop counter last week. “And we even had people from New York and Texas. We shipped things to people who stopped and returned. We have people returning to Newton to visit family. It’s just fun to see that.

NAVIGATION CAN BE NOSTALGIC

In addition to those coming from the interstate or US Route 6, there are those looking for something specific. At Varieties, specific is the dish of the day, every day. Old-school trinkets, refurbished decor, weird knick-knacks, and even a few modern novelties are common finds.

With a large amount of shelf space dedicated to old antiques and antiques, there are a number of customers who browse Varieties with a nostalgic lens. Suddenly, a guest sees a recognizable relic from his past or his parents’ past, and he must have it.

Products are meticulously arranged on one of the many tables and shelves inside the store, which is arranged along two aisles. Arie and Diane keep the place well organized and clean to allow for better browsing. They say some customers have spent hours looking through the place.

The maze is not the path through the store; the maze is all the merchandise dominating the customers. It’s easy to get lost just looking through Varieties. Even after another pass, there is more to discover. Arie and Diane are particularly careful about what goes on sale, but items from any period will do.

“That’s why it’s called Variety,” laughs Diane. “…Some people just come to pick up certain items. Others come just to see or are impulse buyers.

BUSINESS KEEPS THEM BUSY

Varieties opened at a somewhat inconvenient time in February 2020. The store and many other businesses across the country closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the store has withstood closures and added 9,100 new items since opening.

Arie and Diane are originally from Grinnell but have lived in Newton for over three decades. The two opened Varieties as a way to keep busy after Arie, and eventually Diane, retired. Neither had any real experience running a store before, aside from the time Arie spent at his grandfather’s shop in Sully.

It was a somewhat similar store to Varieties, but maybe not as nice, Arie said. Arie’s grandfather frequented auctions and put the items he found in piles for customers to sort through. Such practices wouldn’t fly at Varieties. As an added bonus, Arie and Diane can sell any type of merchandise they want.

Of course selling vintage gadgets and whatever else you have been part of the business. But Arie also has a passion for renovation and repurposing, a hobby he’s picked up in recent years. Finished products, like custom shadow boxes and restored lanterns, are usually listed for sale at Varieties.

Diane Versendaal showcases a number of items available at Varieties, an art, antiques and treasure shop in downtown Newton.  Since opening in early 2020, the owners have noticed that many of their customers are from out of town and out of state.

“IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO WATCH”

Sometimes Arie looks at some of the things available at Varieties and feels a sense of intrigue. Perhaps it was the intricate glassware that sparked an interest, or the intricate carpentry. How did someone do this? Why did someone do this? It amazes him some of the things people can do.

Customers are also amazed by some of the things Arie does. Every once in a while someone walks past the store and asks how they restored the lanterns hanging above the register. Rather than keeping the knowledge to himself, Arie happily explains his method. Some might think this is a bad business decision. Not Arie.

It’s no secret to him. If someone else can learn how to restore furniture or decor, that’s fine with them. This kind of open door policy is also shared by the store. Arie and Diane want their customers to be carefree and not have to buy anything. Sometimes a look and a pleasant conversation are just as valuable.

“Just because you walk in doesn’t mean you have to buy anything,” Arie said. “Almost 90% of the people who walk in here stop at the door, turn around and say ‘Thank you’. Whether they buy something or not… They had a great time looking.

Diane added: “We want them to feel comfortable and have fun… The main thing is that they feel comfortable here. When we greet them and they say, “We’re just watching. Our line is this: it’s always good to just watch. »

Luckily for Varieties, there’s always plenty to watch.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or [email protected]