Restoring a century-old building means unexpected challenges. That’s been the case for Donna and Lisa Southwick as they lovingly return the old Saline Reporter building to its 1870s glory. This spring the two figured they had completed the lion’s share of renovation and restoration and were eager to open their consignment shop, which they planned to call Main Street Arts & Antiques. The opening was pushed back as each passing month brought more repairs and new restoration ideas–and roadwork right in front of the store didn’t help. But by late October they were finally getting close to opening their doors. The business has a new name, too: it’s now The News Arts & Antiques.
“It’s a nod to the Saline Reporter, and we’re having fun naming sections of the business. The cash wrap will be Business & Finance, the front room The Front Page,” says Donna Southwick.
The back room is now a classroom. Donna muses aloud about perhaps naming it the Arts & Entertainment section. She’ll teach art classes and has invited former 212 Arts Center artists to teach as well, including Kelsey Keyes, who points to the adult-sized yarn-bombed trike that recently stood outside 212. “This is the perfect new home for it,” says Keyes.
The Southwicks’ hope is to feature a wide range of artists and craftspeople. “I’m still on the hunt for someone who makes dried flowers and herbs and someone who does leatherwork, pottery, glasswork, metalwork, and someone who makes body products. Do you know anyone who makes candy?” asks Donna. “We’d love to sell homemade candy for the holidays.” She had already signed up two photographers that afternoon, Susan Lawless and Tracey Coffield, their subject matter different enough that she felt comfortable featuring both. “We want to help every artist sell. We’re not about being exclusive either; if one of our artists wants to sell elsewhere, that’s great. It’s better for the art community overall,” she says.
Lawless shared a collection of prints featuring Michigan barns and farm implements. Coffield’s included an assortment of brightly colored dahlias and another set from a study she did at Old Car City USA, a classic car junkyard dating back to the 1930s deep in the woods of White County, Georgia. Donna summons wife Lisa over for a closer look at a photograph of a faded-red 1950s-era sedan, foliage growing through every corroded opening, its classic rusty Ford emblem just visible. “Both Lisa and I used to work at Ford. I love this picture,” Donna tells Coffield.
Gay Halseth, a local jeweler, arrived to show Donna her repurposed vintage pieces, including a stunning necklace of green gems that looked like something Elizabeth Taylor might have worn in Cleopatra.
“I have 50,000,000 antique postcards, too,” says Halseth as she tucks away the consignment contract Donna had given her. Donna nods, her eyes wide, like a kid in a candy shop. “Oh, we could sell those. Unusual vintage items are right up our alley, and I know just how to display those postcards!”
The News Arts & Antiques. 106 W. Michigan Ave., Saline. 316-7900. Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., with adjusted hours during the holidays. Closed Sun. & Mon. facebook.com/TheNewsAntiques/