You might be hittin' the road to Waco, Jack, but Jack don't have no guide map. Fear not! We've sought out Waco's most unique antique shops for you, as though they were a baker's dozen of Fabregé eggs hidden for an Easter hunt.
Protip: If getting there means the world to you or your schedule, call before to make sure you're clear on the stores' hours, as their schedules vary.
Ready? Here are Waco's must-do, unique antique shops:
1. A load of awesome is what you’ll find inside LaSalle Shoppes (which, fun fact, used to be a hotel in the 40s): antique and collectibles hotspot, 50 vendors, not your usual mom and pop antique shop.
They do have all the things you’d expect in an antique store and a knowledgeable staff! But the heart and soul of this place is Kate Ramer, proprietress, “The coolest thing about the Shoppes is that there is literally something for everyone here.”
“My shop is my passion, my love, and I pay for it with hours, weeks...years of my life... my time, so I have to make sure it's good. I love the customers. I love the vendors. I love the stories. But mostly... I love the nostalgia. I wanted to create a place where shoppers go not to 'kill time', but rather... enjoy a walk through time.”
“The coolest items are the ones I call the nostalgic ones. Vinyl records, comics, lunch box sets, Star Wars toys and magazines, Fisher Price toys, metal doll houses and plastic furniture pieces, kitchen tools and mixing bowls..... the things we adults used to see in our grandma's houses... and the things we tell our children and grandchildren about having... 'back in our day.'"
"Bonus points when children are the ones buying these things. My heart hits a level of happy I can't even describe.”
“Old knives, sports stuff, boy scout items, coins, license plates, steampunk and repurposed junk lamps, beer signs and parts of cars I still can't identify; that's what keeps men's eyes from rolling.”
Kate’s been making antiques cool since August 2011. Deep dive into LaSalle Shoppes here.
2. Natalie Wyatt and her husband opened Lynnlee Layne's at a time in their life when her health required a little more flexibility with work. The couple visited a junk shop and thought, “How fun would this be?!” One phone call on a whim later = The Wyatt’s were business owners of a junk store!
Better than junk; their three-year-old business has thrived on a diet of believing “yesterday’s treasures are today's pleasures.”
Expertise doesn’t just appear, “My husband and I have been lifelong junkers at heart. My grandmother had me going to garage sales and redoing furniture at a very young age. Once it’s in your blood, you're hooked. After many years of collecting, we decided to open a store and share our treasures with others.”
“The main challenge we face is setting ourselves apart from all the other stores that have opened in the last few years. Since Magnolia has opened, stores are popping up all over Waco. We try to find those weird, unusual items that you just don't find everywhere.”
Word on the street: Natalie is a total sweetheart. Super easy to talk to and super smart about paint and painted furniture. Keeps the store stocked, tests a lot of products, and knows what works.
“If we are here, we are open!” (Sometimes they're in the shop on closed days and will let you in.)
3. If we’re talking about LynnLee Layne’s Natalie Wyatt, then we’re talking about Lupe Portillo of Lupe's Petals & More.
The two shop owners are best pals. (So cute, right?!) Though they have separate shops, they can be seen loading up their treasure troves, off to markets, around town – together.
Lupe is into wrought iron and it's apparent within the walls of her store. We’re talkin a lotta wrought iron. Also rusty and dusty junk, vintage container gardening, shabby chic furniture, and some pottery.
Read: really solid finds! A friend of mine snagged a dreamy, vintage strainer to add to her kitchen artillery. (She works full-time, has two boys, and a husband. Oh, and two ginormous dogs, for what it’s worth!) She hopped over there, purchased it for her Mother’s Day gift to herself, uses it all the time and, you know when you see something in your house and remember the moment, who you were with, the thoughts you had when you bought it? Also happening with said strainer. Win-win-win.
It has been said that Lupe’s Petals and More keeps a good inventory flow – there are always new things to peruse and her shoppers go home happy.
Read: Your eyeballs won’t be bored!
Keeeeep reading below for some insider news about Lupe’s business!
4. Kandi Jo's is three generations deep with no end in sight.
Kandi Jo’s mom actually started years ago, selling resale as a hobby through ads in the newspaper. (Let us take a moment of silence to remember the days of yore.)
Potential customers would ring her on the landline to further describe the item for sale because – no photos. Over time, the business graduated to Craigslist, then Facebook – where the online element of the store lives today. (Or you can view their harvest of goodies in person at their killer-cute shop. Goodies include project pieces, vintage/antique furniture, home decor!)
So, Kandi Jo + Co. (her mom and her daughter) are still in the business of answering the random questions all the time...How wide are your music boxes? How tall is the Beatles poster? How big is your small, white table? Can it fly? The store posts hundreds of items each week (also got the good inventory flow going) and they’re always selling and buying if your garage needs purging...just sayin'.
Kandi Jo’s has recently outgrown its space and moved into a larger one (don’t worry, returners; it’s in the same building). The super inside scoop is that Lynnlee Layne’s, Lupe’s Petals and More, Max and JoJo, and Michelle’s Resale will be relocating to join Kandi Jo’s! You can experience all five shops in just one stop.
You can find them just two blocks from Magnolia Table so stop by before or after your Lemon Lavender Donut Holes, okay?!
5. Junky Monkey is stocked with “good ole’ antique finds that were made when things lasted forever.” Think antiques, primitives, junk, architectural salvage, with a cherry-on-top, trendy boutique. Jill Turner, owner of the shop, says she wants to take you back in time. Wants to entertain you with items you’ve maybe never seen OR you may remember as a kid.
This lady has a marketing background and has studied the nature of the Monkey shopper: she believes 80% of her clients are tourists so you can bet she’s ready for you, visiting travelers. There’s even a section in the back of the store where you can go junking yourself!
Junky Monkey’s hip and saucy staff leave most people laughing as they walk out the door.
6. The cleverest business name award goes to...Flippin' Furniture & Antweeks.
Jessie and Robert Milligan, have worked together in some capacity for the entirety of their marriage; they like it! Wanting to keep that going, they started the business out of their garage in 2015. They are what they call a “resale repurposed furniture and antique store.”
“We customize furniture pieces, made to order. You think it...We create it.”
They mean it! Some impressive finished products are stacked up on their website if you have time to look before heading to the store.
They are the flippers of the furniture and the tweakers of the antiques who leave a wake of happy customers, satisfied custom order-ers, and raves of reviews behind them as they work. Here’s a taste of the creating process:
"Finishing up another cool custom piece of furniture for a customer. This is an 84” x 60” L-Shape Desk stained in a classic grey finish with 2” black pipe as the legs. Can’t wait to see this piece in the customer's home office.”
Even if you don’t have a major project at the minute, Jessie and Robert have plenty of WOW (and that good old honest, kind commitment toward their customers) for you to behold.
7. Junque Amore. Four years ago, Gloria started a “little venture that started as a hobby” along with her dad, Juan; her mom, Mary; and her daughter, Sofia.
In addition to selling one-of-kind furniture pieces, Junque Amore offers custom paint services, customized tumblers, benches, washers and dryers(!), bed frames. They also carry home decor and gifts.
They have new inventory EVERY week.
Gloria loves that when locals support her business, so much of their spending goes back into the community. I’m sure you’ll sense this about her if you have the pleasure to meet.
Jump off the beaten path (just 20 minutes from downtown Waco) and enjoy the ride. Colorful furniture and lovely gift ideas at unbeatable prices await you.
8. Welcome to Chatter Box, Waco’s super quirky hidden gem on Austin Avenue.
Owner Joni Lindsay welcomes you to experience her happy place as your own. You will find things to be both fun and funny, definitively unique, and reviews say, inexpensive.
Distinctly different than other gift stores, there is breathable room for viewing and considering while shopping. The question, "Where could I see this in my space?" is easily asked.
See it for yourself, along with Joni’s friendly welcome, in its convenient Uptown location.
9. Find yourself at Savage Finds.
Through a series of serendipitous events that you can ask about when you pop over, owners Tami Smith and Joey Macarthur have moved into what is now considered the “Times Square of Texas.”
Caddy corner to Magnolia Market, they have set up what, in no other words, can be called “cool.”
They have their hand on the pulse of a buyer who is wanting something relevant but in essence, unexpected, special, connected.
Joey and Tami had a very popular antique store in Snoqualmie, Washington, providing great prices and deals to customers and dealers alike. Some of their items, oddly enough, have made their way to fame as props in the hit television series "Twin Peaks.”
I learned a few things simply by scrolling around their website. For example: For hundreds of years, glassmakers used small amounts of uranium to create yellow or green glass. In the 1800s, this glass' yellow tint led to the nicknames “Vaseline glass” and “canary glass.” Under an ultraviolet or “black” light, the uranium causes the glass to glow bright green. Who knew?! (Tami + Joey did.)
These two are offering antiques and some pretty remarkable jewelry you may want to peep.
Tell ‘em Towny sent you.