End of an era: Sadorus antique store to close

The Sadorus store that has sold curiosities and treasures for 50 years is closing its doors.  The Antique and Curiosity Shop, owned by Gene and Jeannine Taylor,  will be selling off its inventory over the next few months.

“We will miss the customers,” said Jeannine Taylor.  “We have met the nicest people in this business.  It seems like people enjoy shopping for antiques.  It’s never anything you need, but something you want.”

When you walk into the shop, the Taylors are quick to offer you a water and tell you to help yourself to the cookies and candy always out by the counter.  They welcome each customer like family.

The couple started selling antiques in 1968, when they found their house overflowing with items.  Gene loves to collect “dinner pails,” commonly known as lunch boxes.  He has a vast collection, which he would display on the enclosed back porch of their home.   Many are for sale in the store today.  Jeannie had items her mother collected, and some of her own. “We just needed to get rid of items from our house, so we decided to open an antique store,” she said.

They first opened their shop in 1968 in a building at Church and Fair in Champaign with some other ladies, Taylor said. The couple soon struck out on their own.  They wanted to sell more furniture and larger items, Jeannine Taylor said, and they needed a bigger space to hold it.  The building on Vine in Sadorus was perfect.  They purchased the property and set up shop in 1970.

In the beginning, she worked at the shop while her husband worked at the Sunbeam plant during the day.  Then he would come in and work at the store.  After he retired, they both worked at the shop full-time. Over the years, they raised their daughters in Sadorus.

“We lived down the street in an old Victorian house,” she said.  “It wasn’t in good shape when we got it, but we fixed it up with new wallpaper, everything.   I redid the roof and had custom flowers put in the roof tiles.  Any place we could paint the woodwork outside in period colors, we did.  We called her the ‘painted lady.’  I had beds of gladiolus in the yard.  People used to come and take them to start growing them in their own gardens. Everyone in town knew our house.”

Eventually, they sold the house and now live in smaller quarters in their shop.   This summer, the couple decided that they no longer are able to handle the heavy lifting and work that goes along with running the store.  They made the decision to sell off the bulk of their inventory and retire, Jeannine Taylor said.

Taylor clearly loves what she does.  She has appreciated antiques since she was a girl.  “My mother loved them, and so do I,” she said.  “There’s so much character in the older things.  The glassware and the china are so interesting.  All the furniture is so well made, not like today.  I think our customers appreciate those qualities, too.”

Even though they will no longer have a storefront, they will keep their hand in the business with a booth at the Captain Jack’s store in Savoy and one at Paddywagon Antiques in Tuscola.  “You never really get out of this business,” Taylor said.

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