When Michelle Ingalls closed Reincarnations Resale last summer and relocated to Texas, it left a gap for those who relish an afternoon of thrift and consignment shopping in downtown Saline. Enter Donna and Lisa Southwick. “I’ve known Michelle for years. We both used to work at the Ann Arbor Antiques Market,” says Donna, sitting down with her wife for a chat about their new business venture. They hope to open Main Street Arts & Antiques in time for Saline’s Ladies Night Out on March 24.

The Southwicks considered Ingalls’ former spot, but that didn’t pan out. Instead they purchased the former Saline Reporter building last July. At first they planned to open a wellness center with a yoga studio featuring related retail. But that plan changed after a last-minute idea found an eager market.

“I have this tremendous inventory of vintage items and antiques,” explains Donna, who sells to customers worldwide on her Etsy site, Esmerelda’s Gifts. “After we’d finished with the first big demo and looked at the huge vacant space it created, we thought, ‘Why not host a pop-up market right before Christmas and sell some of that inventory while we’re still getting the building renovated?’

“Tran [Longmoore] wrote a short piece announcing the pop-up for the Saline Post, and the rest was word of mouth,” says Donna. In the end, the experiment was so successful that the couple decided to make it permanent as Main Street Arts & Antiques. “We’ll buy and sell and use a similar consignment model to Michelle’s,” says Donna.

The Southwicks are doing almost all of the renovations themselves. “We’re big fans of HGTV, especially the show Fixer Upper. If we can’t figure something out, we go to YouTube,” laughs Donna. “That’s where we learned the best way to remove plaster and get down to the original brick. We bought a rotary hammer!”

They also ripped out load after load of old carpet and hauled away the drywall that divided up the newspaper offices. With three parking spaces in the back and handicapped access through a side entrance, the couple isn’t too worried about MDOT’s planned reconstruction of Michigan Avenue this summer. “We’re lucky to have the side entrance and easy access to the building off of McKay St.,” says Donna.

“We’ve had lots of help from friends and family, and nearby business owners have been really supportive,” she adds. David Rhoads, Saline’s mayor pro tem and member of Saline Main Street’s Business Development team, helped them get up to code for the pop-up.

Donna grew up on the east side of Detroit with five generations living under one roof. Not only was she surrounded by her grandmother and great-grandmother’s antiques and treasures, building was part of her family culture thanks to her father’s construction business. Lisa, originally from Amherst, Massachusetts, did graduate work at U-M in mechanical engineering. After fourteen years at Ford, for the past eleven years she’s worked at Hyundai. She’s unfazed by major DIY projects. “I’ve always been that way,” she says.

Although the building does not have a formal historic designation, both women are committed to honoring its past. Originally built around 1870, it was bought by Reporter founder Paul Tull in 1952. Previous tenants included Haarer’s Quality Market, but the building started out as a hardware store. Donna’s collection includes antique toolboxes probably a lot like the ones folks might have found for sale in the very same building a century ago.

During the pop-up, the Southwicks not only sold vintage items and antiques but also featured works made by local artists like Kelsey Keyes and her husband, John Hassett. “That’s something we’ll continue once we open permanently. We really want to support local artists,” says Donna. She’ll also sell her own handmade jewelry, made from precious and semiprecious stones in a style she calls “vintage hip.”

Main Street Arts & Antiques, 106 W. Michigan Ave., Saline. (734) 316-7900. Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sun. & Mon.