SIOUX CITY — When Chad Ferris opened Rosewood & Brass Antiques and Collectibles in downtown Sioux City two years ago, the area had more than a handful of small locally owned shops.
While some of the stores offered similar wares as his, Ferris noted they benefited from each other’s presence since it gave shoppers multiple places to visit when they were downtown.
However, since then, lots of those same shops have closed, consolidated or relocated, including Wine and Other Old Things and several businesses housed in the Commerce Building.
"Now everybody's gone," Ferris said. "Chuck (Swaggerty-Morgan) will be the last one left over there at Whistle Stop (Antique Shop)."
Meanwhile, Rosewood & Brass has been growing and space has become limited in its 1,200-square-foot storefront on Pierce Street, which is filled with goods from front to back.
Those were just a few of the reasons Ferris decided a few months ago he was going relocate Rosewood & Brass to the Transit Plaza shopping center.
The Morningside marketplace has businesses similar to Rosewood & Brass, including Anytime Auctions & Treasures, Diane’s Corner Collectibles and Attic Finds, Mission of the Messiah (MoM’s) Thrift Store, Sweet Repeats Flea Market and Consignments, and Unclaimed Freight Furniture.
“Everybody else is over there,” Ferris said.
Sometime in November, Rosewood & Brass will move into a 5,000-square-foot stand-alone building located on the southeast corner of Transit Plaza that once housed the former House of Q barbecue restaurant.
"It's awesome to have us all in one little area because then people can just hop from store to store to store," Ferris said.
Luring yet another secondhand goods store to the shopping center on the corner of Transit Avenue and South Alice Street is just what property manager Raleigh Zucker wants.
In the last decade plus, the nearly 50-year-old shopping center has lost a slew of tenants to newer shopping developments in the Morningside area or former tenants such as Fareway and Ray’s Midbell Music erecting stand-alone stores.
For the last few years, Zucker has worked on making Transit Plaza the ideal stop for antiquers and discount shoppers. She noted the popularity of shows about antiquing and interior decorating have led to a spike in interest for those types of stores.
“It’s just big business," Zucker said. “...(Business) is growing in the discount area and a lot of it is in one place, which is a good thing.”
Zucker also emphasizes that she wants this shopping center to cater to consumers who enjoy value shopping. She said a lot of people’s purse strings are tight these days and shopping Transit Plaza is great to way for them to save and still find what they need.
One person that fits the exact shopping demographic Zucker is targeting is Wanda Harvey of Sloan, Iowa.
Harvey spent part of her day Wednesday shopping at Anytime Auctions & Treasures and Sweet Repeats. She said she lives on a fixed income and likes to come to the Transit Plaza stores to shop and look around.
The business that sort of laid the foundation for the burgeoning thrift district was Anytime, a 12,000-square-foot store located between MoM’s and Unclaimed Freight Furniture.
Owner Rod McFarland purchased Anytime almost seven years ago after he graduated from auctioneering school.
He said he sunk everything into it and had $50 left to his name when he rolled the dice on what was then just a flea market with about five renters.
"I took a leap of faith," he said.
In the beginning, McFarland held consignment auctions every other week in the parking lot and that helped bring attention to the store and his auctioneering services.
“Now we run (auctions) every week and we go out in the field and do auctions,” McFarland said.
McFarland now holds his auctions in a space in the back of his store that features four rows of 7-foot-long tables that are usually stacked with merchandise by the time auctions kick off at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
Additionally, more than 100 booths are rented out at Anytime and they feature everything from Christmas decorations to vinyl records.
Since July, Kate Kathol said she and her husband have rented out five booths at Anytime.
The Kathols are longtime members of the Sioux City thrift scene who got their start at Anytime.
Then, about three years ago, they opened Sweet Repeats at its original location on Transit Avenue, which now houses MakerSpace Sioux City.
Due to personal reasons, the Kathols sold Sweet Repeats to an employee, Tammy Schnetzer, who last year moved the business to Transit Plaza, where it has thrived. It recently expanded into an adjacent storefront.
Over the summer, the couple decided to get back into the thrift business and were going to rent a booth at Sweet Repeats but returned to Anytime since the former business had a waiting list for renters.
Not only are the Kathols glad to be back in the second-hand goods business — Kate Kathol joked it was in their blood — the couple support Transit Plaza's mission of becoming Siouxland’s ultimate thrift destination.
“I love it, I love it,” Kate Kathol said. “It’s great because it’s kind of like one-stop for those antique people who want to take the time to look at all the booths and I think it’s great. It’s only going to help everybody.”