Sandy Erdman: Kasson shop owner has ‘awesome decorating skills’
Oslo Antiques & Collectables is now open in a new location, in Kasson, in a building that is on the National Register of Historic Places, 122 W. Main St.
“My husband and I purchased it in 2005,” said Diane O’Brien, the building owner. “I had several, varied businesses renting the offices until 2014, which is when ‘Second Time Around’ was born. I have been a collector of all things beautiful my whole life, and at that time it was necessary to downsize, so I put the word out and opened with three vendors. There are now nine of us, which include The Shy Lily upstairs and Oslo Antiques & Collectables in the downstairs room.
“Business is good, but even better, my main street in Kasson has been given a shot in the arm, thanks to these people who share my passion for reuse, recycling and honoring the past,” O’Brien said.
Oslo Antiques & Collectables owner Carol Christopherson said, “My husband Bob and I have been in this business since the mid-1980s. Oslo Antiques & Collectables has always been our name. We live near Oslo and always shopped at the old Oslo general store back in the day, so we thought why not ‘Oslo Antiques & Collectables’ for our name? I know nowadays that the trend is to use catchy verbiage for shop names, not so much back then. We have considered changing it, but then think ‘why?’”
The space in Old City Hall is close to home, Carol said, and “We love the old historical building. Our space is located in the lower level and is 600 square feet. We use all the space for displaying by dividing our space using old doors, vintage shelving and industrial wire panels to display. We like to show the customer how it will fit in their home. Most of our display items have been purchased at flea markets.”
I asked Carol how she got started. “We think back to the early 1980s when we were raising hogs, had just built a new building and then times got real tough. We had to find a way to pay the bills,” she said. “I was able to get a job at Hormel, but that ended when the strike hit. Before then, I did a few small flea markets with a good friend. As a child I loved to go to auctions with my dad. I would sit on his old truck and listen to the auctioneer.
“In our early years in this business, we bought a lot of our inventory at auctions and antique shops. There were some estate and garage sales to shop at, but not too many. A good share of our buying in the last 20 years is done at the shows we attend. I hear a lot from Bob, ‘What did you get now?’ This tells you I’m always on the hunt for unique inventory. Remember, the best finds are usually when you’re not shopping for them. I tell many of our customers if they find an item that really sings to them, buy it. You will find the prefect spot for it.”
With Carol’s knack for acquiring primitives, antiques and rusty items, and with her awesome decorating skills, you know you will find — as Carol tells — “Vintage, repurposed, new home and garden decor, rusty farm junk, and of course collectables. As well as our antique and vintage furniture we have specialized in handcrafting harvest farmhouse tables, benches and cupboards. We do add seasonal items to our decor items, too.
“I think our years of experience in this business helps us to know what the customer is looking for,” Carol said. “Customers often are looking for a similar furniture piece they have seen in a magazines and we often have that piece for them, as we have a large inventory of antique furniture that is not on display. For that reason we welcome the customers’ questions and special requests. We may just have it or can help find it for them.
“We think the best compliment is that our customer usually comes back for another piece of furniture or item, over and over again,” Carol said.