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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Vintique opens in downtown East Peoria

  • A group of people with similar yet different interests have come together at a new business in East Peoria.

    Vintique, located at 119 E. Washington St., opened May 2. Michelle Otten of Bartonville is the owner.
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  • A group of people with similar yet different interests have come together at a new business in East Peoria.
    Vintique, located at 119 E. Washington St., opened May 2. Michelle Otten of Bartonville is the owner.
    Vintique is a name that Otten’s daughter came up with and is a combination of vintage and antique, with a little primitive added in for good measure.
    Otten, 39, who works at Bradley University, loves old things. 
    “I go to auctions and I try to buy anything old that’s primitive,” Otten said. “I love old pie safes and old toys. For me, if it’s an old rusty toy or a little worn, that always draws my attention, I don’t know why. Bread boxes, that’s like a huge thing that I always buy, too.”
    Otten even lives in an old house.
    “The reason why I bought it is because it has a front and a back staircase and when I was little I always wanted that,” she said.
    The 50s and 60s are Otten’s favorite time periods.
    “I like the retro stuff, the aprons, the old table linens,” she said.
    In addition, Otten said she takes some of the old items she finds and makes something from them, especially around the holidays.
    One reason Otten is attracted to buying old things is her love of history.
    “I originally wanted to be a history teacher but then I changed paths,” she said.
    Another reason Otten loves all things nostalgia is because she used to shop and collect with her mom, grandma and other relatives.
    “I had always done craft shows. We’d done some furniture. We’d make items and buy antiques and throw them in, too,” Otten said. “When my grandma passed away, we just really didn’t want to do it anymore.”
    However, Otten kept collecting things and recently learned of the space in East Peoria.
    “Now just seemed like the right time,” she said.
    Otten’s mom, Debbie Stear, will help her run the shop.
    Otten got lucky while looking for vendors because the ones at her business each offer their own unique items.
    Page 2 of 4 - “We have a modge podge. It wasn’t really planned. We have a variety. Everybody kind of does their own thing,” Otten said.
    Besides Otten, the vendors at Vintique are Geri Pollitt of Bartonville, Julie Danley and Linda Haynes Jackson, both of Peoria and Wendy Haste of East Peoria.
    Otten located most of the vendors through the Internet, but she met Pollitt at an auction in Glasford.
    “She bid on something and got a piece I really wanted for my house,” Pollitt said. “I noticed she was buying a whole lot of things I was interested in too, so I thought ‘I have to go find out what she’s doing.’ ... She told me she was opening a shop.”
    Pollitt is part of the Prairie Traveling Vintage Show and participates in third Sunday markets in Bloomington. 
    Pollitt offers upcycled items and has a line of chalk paint called Aunt Geraldine’s. The paint does not contain chemicals.
    “Chalk paint is an old finish, like you would find it on older furniture,” Pollitt said. “Chalk and/or milk paint. It’s got a chalky consistency. It’s not shiny.”
    At Vintique, Pollitt will offer beginning to advanced painting classes to teach people how to use the chalk paint on furniture or other items “ to give it an old look or distressed look,” she said.
    Pollitt said she likes finding old things and give them a new look. 
    “I was probably upcycling before it was cool and a trendy thing to do,” Pollitt said. “It’s kind of my creative outlet, which is now turning in to be my full-time job. I like being able to take a piece and looking at it, and it might be a piece somebody was going to throw away.”
    “Trash to treasure,” Haynes Jackson added. “We used to drive down the alley and my son would look and say, ‘See anything you like mom?’”
    Pollitt will share her painting techniques starting in June. 
    “In the beginning class we will probably start with a wooden box,” she said. “In the advanced class you would learn how to get that aged or vintage look you want.”
    Page 3 of 4 - Aunt Geraldine’s paint can be made into a custom color and is sold in 4-ounce, 8-ounce and 16-ounce sizes.
    Being retired, Doug and Dianne Hartman of Dahinda love looking for unique items. They offer items from the 1950s to the 1980s and have a collection of bar-related items, such as glasses, signs and stir sticks. 
    The Hartmans frequent auctions, garage sales, estate sales and antique shops looking for things.
    Dianne said her husband likes to go on the hunt.
    “He’ll come home from an auction at 10 or 11 and I’ll be asleep and he’ll say, ‘You’ve got to see this,’” Dianne said.
    Danley said she specializes in industrial modern lights, which she makes out of cast pipe.
    “They’re all made out of brand new parts but they look old and industrial,” she said.
    When making her lights, Danley pays close attention that all of the sockets, plugs, switches, chords and light bulbs are vintage looking.
    “I don’t think there’s anyone around here who sells the kind of lighting that I do,” she said. 
    Danley doesn’t limit herself to one style of light. She makes and sells chandeliers, wall sconces, table lamps and more.
    “I stock the really popular Edison bulb. They’re really popular and really hard to find,” she said. “You can see the filaments inside them. I keep those in stock as well.”
    In addition, Danley offers tube lights and flicker lights that resembles a flame.
    “Pretty much anything to do with lighting, I’ve got a Mason jar set back there, I turn them into solar lights like you’d put on your patio. At night they make this really cool pattern.”
    It seems there is no item that Danley can’t make into a light. She has old industrial bobbins she made into drop lights and lights made from bird cages.
    “A lot of times I’ll see something and go, ‘I can make a lamp out of that,’” Danley said.
    In addition to her light collection, she likes to take old wooden windows and make them into chalk boards, mirrors and bulletin boards.
    Page 4 of 4 - Haynes Jackson is an inventor. She sees items and makes something unique from them. For example, she has chairs made from belts and lamps made from film slides. She also has a chandelier made from teacups and silverware.
    “I just take old things and give them a new look,” she said. “I look at something and think, ‘What could I use this for?’”
    Otten said traffic and feedback have been good at her new business.
    “It’s exceeded my expectations,” she said.
    Vintique is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday. For more information, call 839-7442.

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