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Antique collectors turn dealers with downtown shop

Press Photos by Katherine Grandstrand Rita Wanner, left, sits behind her counter at Antique Charm in downtown Dickinson on Wednesday.1 / 2
Press Photos by Katherine Grandstrand Rita Wanner, left, stands inside Antique Charm in downtown Dickinson on Wednesday.2 / 2

It started by collecting old toys. And then it spread to collecting other old things — suitcases, paintings, figurines. And then the upcycling began.

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It’s all about the past for Rita Wanner and her family. Her husband began collecting antique toys 30 years ago. She got in on it and turned her kitchen into a Coca-Cola kitchen years ago. Her son turns found objects — like a parking meter — into lamps. And her twin granddaughters, Molli and Maci, help out as much as a child can.

“They like to be our little junkers,” Rita said.

Her twins — son, Kris, and daughter, Kim (Molli and Maci’s mom) — also help out with the shop that opened Jan. 1.

They set up downtown on First Street West between Bernie’s Esquire Club and the Queen City Barber Shop in the space previously occupied by The Village Back Door and, more recently, The Old Tobacco Shop, which moved around the corner to First Avenue West.

Rita is ready to turn into a dealer after years and years of collecting, although her husband, Wayne, may not be.

“My husband started collecting toys,” Rita said of Wayne, who also owns a body shop. “He collects a lot of Tonka toys.

“He is still collecting his toys. He’ll sell something and then he’ll think he can buy something.”

Known for collecting antiques, friends and acquaintances who have stopped by the shop have asked if her home is now empty, Rita said. But she still has plenty of inventory back home.

The shop is filled with old toys and board games, suitcases, knick-knacks and tchotchkes, old skateboards and egg crates. Kids and adults will find something to fall in love with.

A lot of the merchandise is from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. It’s sourced from auctions and Junk Fest, an annual event in Carrington. A lot of it comes from neighboring Minnesota, Rita said.

Wayne does more of the background research, Rita said. For her, it’s all about the find.

But she doesn’t get attached.

“I like to find old things,” Rita said. “It’s fun to collect and find and see what other people like.”

Antique Charm

27 First St. W.

Dickinson, ND 58601

Monday through Friday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206