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Iconic Blackwell antique mall up for grabs

Jordan Green / Red Dirt Report
The first floor of Ashby's Antique Mall is full of treasures from the days of old.
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BLACKWELL, Okla.-- Ashby's Antique Mall has been in Blackwell for 28 years – but if it’s not sold soon, it may meet its premature fate.

History comes alive at Ashby's Antique Mall. The two-story brick-and-mortar building has become a haven for those who collect antiques, and for those who just want to buy something that is interesting to them. The mall is owned and operated by brothers Ron and Paul Ashby and their wifes, Carol and Janet, respectively.

On the first floor, aisles and aisles of rusty fans, dusty furniture, classic books, and old toys fill the store to the brim. A yellow and brown paint scheme envelop the walls, just as it did when Ashby's was first opened; a radio softly plays music from a bygone era. Up on the wall, a cardboard cutout of a woman advertising Kodak film is accompanied by a handwritten poster that reads, "Over 1,000 SALE items Upstairs" [sic]. The second floor simulates the first; the vast quantity of vintage clothes, flashy signs, and old military gear can be mesmerizing. After all, the building has 12,000 square feet, and it’s full of iconic memorabilia.

But in December, that could all come to an end.

The Ashby family has been dealing in antiques for many years, according to Janet Ashby, the wife of Paul Ashby. She said, "The boys' dad and mom started selling antiques, and the boys got interested. We decided to settle down and start a business.”

Janet Ashby happily displays a picture of the Ashby family. (Jordan Green / Red Dirt Report) 

To open their store, the Ashbys sought a location near an interstate; they found the perfect spot at 110 North Main Street in Blackwell. "We opened because of the highway, and we found this building," said Janet.

Since opening, the Ashby family has created rapport with antique dealers, and in doing so, it has established itself in the field of antiques. Ashby said, "We have dealers that rent spots here, and we've had a lot of dealers stay with us for a lot of years. They want to stay here."

The antique mall is known far and wide: "We're known all over the antique community, all over the U.S. People from Japan and Australia come here, and they'll come back. Many unusual and hard-to-find items have been sold here, and in the antique community, Ashby’s has put Blackwell on the list of ‘places to go’ for antiques.”

The Ashbys enjoy operating their store, but they are ready to retire due to health reasons. Janet said, "Once we close, we'll travel some, too."

Paul Ashby had a few words to say himself. Walking by the plethora of items in the upper level, he said, "It's going to be sad to leave. But, time goes on."

"The building has good air conditioning, a rubber roof, heating on both floors. ... It's all concrete," he added solemnly.

Before it was an antique mall, the building served as Hunt's Department Store, Peter’s Department Store, and West Dyer's Department Store.

Janet elaborated on the family's business further, as well as what the family wants for the business: "We're a family-owned and friendly business, and our dealers have become our friends.”

The Ashbys would like to see the business sold as a whole. “That’s been the plan,” said Janet. “A buyer can walk in, we’ll teach them what to do, and we’ll walk out.”

On December 2 and 3, the mall will have its anniversary sale, with all items being marked down by 25 percent or more. “’The dealers will be here in person,” added Janet.

The property is currently listed with Shawn Cannon, an agent with Century 21. According to Century’s website, the building was built in 1924 and has over 30 vendors. The building also features a large safe on the mezzanine level that will stay with the building. The building is listed for $125,000. Ashby’s Antique Mall is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and can be reached at 580-363-4410.

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Jordan Green

Jordan Green is an Eagle Scout from Blackwell, OK. He is an intern with his hometown newspaper...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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