‘Treasures’ business opens
Vicki Bichelmeyer has heard the question from plenty of customers at Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse through the past few years: "Do you have any antique stores in town?"
The answer has been no -- until now.
And it's Vicki and her husband, Matt, who are responsible for changing the answer to a "yes."
On Saturday, the restaurant-owning couple opened another downtown business: The Royale, a "used treasures and pawn" shop that has furniture, jewelry and music, along with much more, in the 500 block of Fourth Street.
There are items ranging from a W.C. Fields whiskey canister to Radio Flyer red wagons and collectible coins to video games.
Vicki hopes the shop can become an anchor for other similar downtown Tonganoxie businesses so that the district can emulate what Weston, Mo., offers with its unique shops in its historic downtown.
The store has various items on consignment, as well as many items the Bichelmeyers own.
"Matt and I have always loved old things," Vicki said.
In fact, Matt's sister owns an antique store in Spring Hill called Konitzer Lane Antiques and Flea Market, which was played a part in the Bichelmeyers moving forward with their own shop in Tonganoxie.
For Matt and Vicki, the new store will provide a release from their restaurant, which they have operated since 2000.
"This is going to be our hobby house," Matt said.
The couple decided on calling the store The Royale because of the building's history. It originally was the Royal Theater. A poster from 1939 advertising the movie showing at the time at the theater is prominently displayed at the store's front counter.
Most recently, the building was the longtime home to Lenahan's Hardware.
A chair in the middle of the store is reserved for historian John Cass Lenahan, who owned the hardware store before selling to Bichelmeyers. Signed copies of Lenahan's historic books about Tonganoxie are on sale at the new store, as well.
"We love him," Vicki said. "He has a key."
Matt said he and Vicki continue to learn the ropes of the business, such as determining how much some treasures truly are worth. The store has Internet accessibility, which is a great tool, Matt said, for determining values of items. And, they offer eBay services. For instance, if someone wants to sell an item on eBay, they will take a photo of the item and put up for bid for a fee.
The business is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, except for Thursdays, when it is closed. And, the store is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
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