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A look back at the Good Ole Days: Hanel opens antique shop downtown

(Press Photo by Dustin Monke) Tara Hanel displays a 48-star American flag in her store, Good Ole Days, which opened this month in downtown Dickinson.

By Virginia Grantier

Good food was the first focus for the owner of a new antique store in Dickinson.

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When she was a little girl and dreaming of owning her own restaurant, someday, Tara Hanel, 57, of Dickinson, would pretend to be a waitress for her mom, take her order and then make her customer a meal in their Los Angeles home.

The resulting meal would be “excellent,” said Hanel, whose family, from Sicily, passed on their traditional recipes and skills to her.

But other things also rubbed off. Her mom, who raised Tara alone, taught her never to give up and to pursue everything she did — be it flipping burgers or whatever — 110 percent, she said. Her mom also ran a thrift shop for a living, so Hanel learned about that too.

Hanel — who ended up running a donut shop in Los Angeles among other endeavors — got a chance to try out both interests after ending up in North Dakota about 20 years ago after visits, where she fell in love with the Killdeer Mountains area.

Her knowledge of antiques resulted in opening an antique shop in Dickinson, Tara’s Treasures, which she eventually closed. She used her culinary knowledge to open a take-out-only restaurant, named after her mom, Mama Rosina’s. It didn’t work because people wanted to sit down and eat and there was no room, she said.

She later re-opened a sit-down operation in the T-Rex Plaza in Dickinson, offering everything from traditional lasagna to biscotti and cheesecake. That worked for more than three years. But after a couple shoulder surgeries and issues with the location’s fire code, Hanel decided recently to go back into the antique business and closed the restaurant.

“When God closes a door, He opens a window,” she said.

She found a small space downtown, 800 square feet, and a few weeks ago opened her newest venture: Good Olde Days Antiques & Collectibles, 40 1st Ave. West, Suite 200.

There are other antique stores and other unique shops near hers, and she participated recently in a successful street fair in the nearby alley, she said.

“Downtown is an up-and-coming place,” she said.

Hanel said she’s also noticing something.

“We are seeing more and more of a young crowd … enjoying collectibles,” she said. “They’re seeing that they’re are in far better condition and so much more unique.”

Hanel said she finds things at auctions and garage sales. But the shop, which mainly has items from the early 1900s on, is starting to acquire items from local residents who call Hanel with things they want to part with.

One of her prized pieces now in the shop is a pie table she got that way. It’s circa-1930s, an ornate piece to display pies when one was entertaining, she said.

She said that the risk of buying online — having something arrive broken or not up to par — doesn’t happen for her customers, who can see and inspect what they’re buying.

“We stand behind our products,” she said.

Hanel, a grandmother, said when she has free time she’s also an artist, making three-dimensional art that she then frames.

When she’s really taking it easy, she said she’s probably watching those tear-jerking love stories on the Hallmark Channel.