Stepping into Jen’s Antiques on Main Street in Ault is like stepping back in time. An atmosphere of small-town community permeates the store as locals stop by for a chat.
The vast array of vintage clothing, glassware and household goods from many different decades, and jewelry galore — antique, costume, old turquoise, silver and a variety of gems — in various rooms reinforces that sense of days gone by.
By Kay Rios
North Forty News
Adding to the feel of yesteryear, the store occupies a pair of buildings that, for 103 years, housed Burman’s Mercantile.
Jennifer Weichel was born and raised in Ault, spent 25 years farming in Keenesburg, and rented a booth in a Fort Collins antique mall before she returned to open Jen’s Antiques last year. She said opening her store on Main Street was like coming home.
“My dream has always been to have my own antique store, and Burman’s was my favorite store when I was growing up,” she said. “I used to walk in here when I was 4 years old to get my paper dolls.”
Lyn Kloss of Fort Collins bought the building in 2007 when Chuck Burman, grandson of the original owner, retired. At 85, Burman still drops in for an occasional visit and to help with the ongoing restoration. So far, Kloss has rebuilt the two-story storefront on the portion of the property built in 1902 and has reclaimed the tin ceiling that had been hidden under 1950s-era fiberboard tiles.
Jen’s Antiques first anniversary isn’t until March, but it is about to reveal the attractions of Ault to an audience well beyond Northern Colorado. It is set to be featured in Sunset magazine in the spring.
The Sunset connection grew out of a chance summer encounter.
“A man came in with a camera with this huge lens and said he had been shooting at the (Pawnee National) Grasslands for an article for Sunset,” Weichel recalled. “He said he was also an antique nut and, so when he was done shooting, he came back to the store. He said, ‘This makes me feel like I’m 10 years old. It’s so Norman Rockwell. It’s also the cleanest antique shop I’ve seen.’”
He was so intrigued, he sold his editor on the idea of doing an additional story about stopping at Jen’s Antiques on the way to the Grasslands. A crew came in from Arizona to shoot the feature.
“Ault is the gateway to the Pawnee Buttes because this is the junction of (Colorado) Highway 14 and (U.S.) Highway 85,” Weichel said. “We’re 38 miles from Cheyenne and on a direct path from Sterling, Merino, and the Kansas border. It’s very easy to get here. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of people from different areas.”
Jen’s Antiques can carry goods to appeal to lots of different people because it is set up like a mall.
“I rent out booths for $160 and each booth includes eight built-in shelves,” Weichel explained. “I also rent some of the built-in shelves for $60.”
Weichel receives an additional 10 percent from booth and shelf sales, and takes in consignments as well.
“My consignment (fees) are only 25 percent so they don’t have to mark up their items so much,” she explained. “I’m not trying to get rich. I want my dealers to make money, and I want them to stay.”