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Olde Timers Antique Centre celebrates 20th anniversary

April 12, 2019

SANDWICH – There’s a house in Sandwich unlike any other.

The house has custom parquet wood floors, wallpaper and curtains. On the first floor, there’s a large and spacious open-concept living and dining room, and a kitchen with vintage kitchen appliances. Upstairs, there’s a bathroom, children’s bedroom and master bedroom with a baby’s crib. Outside, a dog named Jim sits outside his doghouse. The house’s wraparound porch features a swing and wicker furniture, and flower boxes line each window.

The house is located inside Olde Timers Antique Centre, 131 E. Church St. in Sandwich. The house, approximately 50 years old, is not life-size; it’s a dollhouse.

The fully furnished and decorated dollhouse has working electricity and doors and windows that open. The dollhouse is worth more than $500 and is 41/2 feet long, 28 inches wide, 26 inches tall and has two chimneys. The dollhouse was owned by one of the shop’s dealers. Her grandfather put the finishing touches on it after he made a dollhouse from a kit for her older sister.

The dollhouse will be raffled off as part of Olde Timers Antique Centre’s 20th anniversary celebration. The event will be held Saturday and Sunday with storewide sales, drawings for gift certificates, refreshments and the dollhouse raffle.

Raffle tickets cost $3 each or four for $10. The winner will be announced Sunday evening. The winner need not be present for the drawing. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Open Door Rehabilitation Center and Fox Valley Older Adult Services.

Joe Fraser and Debbie Gatza, owners of Olde Timers Antique Centre, often raffle off a piece of furniture for the store’s anniversary.

“The dollhouse is unlike other items of furniture we’ve raffled off; it appeals to everyone of all ages,” Debbie Gatza said. “Customers look at it in awe, they like to look inside to see the furniture and lights.

“The dollhouse is fun for the whole family. Everyone can play with it and enjoy it,” she said. “It can be passed down through the family from generation to generation. It has sentimental value, and that’s what antiques are all about.”

Olde Timers Antique Centre began 20 years ago with 25 dealers. Today, the 30,000-square-foot mall houses 175 showcases, 130 dealers, 70 booths and a clearance area in the basement.

“We have everything from A to Z in our store,” manager Linda Ament said. “We have furniture, jewelry, toys, sporting goods, books, records, pottery, primitive décor and a lot of framed art, including prints, oils and lithographs. Antiques are technically 100 years old or older, but we sell a lot of vintage items as well.”

Ament said that antique and vintage items, such as the dollhouse, are not found in large box stores.

“Things just aren’t being made like they used to,” Ament said. “Older items are better quality and last longer. Most items here are unique and hard to find. You never know what you’ll come across at [Olde Timers Antique Centre], something you just have to have and take home with you.”