FARGO - The old saw - it’s not really work if you enjoy what you’re doing - pretty much fits the new chapter in Rick and Lolita Fischer’s lives.
The south Fargo couple recently opened Antique Addiction at 1517 S. University Drive. And they couldn’t be happier with their 1,860-square-feet of the odd, the old and the unusual, much of it with a backstory.
“It’s a true joy. It feels great. There is no stress,” Rick said, talking of trips for picking or going to auctions to stock up. “Just dig for stuff. It’s just a joy.”
The shop, which opened Dec. 11, is the product of a shared love of antiques, the couple said.
The walls are covered with a mix of signs, photos, paintings and old newspapers.
The floor has an eclectic mix of antiques and collectibles, from furniture and china, to children’s games and books, and farm tools and cream cans, all well-spaced for socially distanced shopping.
“A little bit of everything, that was our goal,” Lolita said Monday, Dec. 28. “And to think, it was all in our home.”
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They started selling antiques and collectibles out of their home and people kept asking, “‘When are you going to open a store?’” Rick said.
“It’s our version of American Pickers,” he said, referring to the popular History Channel reality television show.
Lolita manages the shop’s social media and e-commerce Etsy store.
“A lot of my items in here are on the Etsy store and we do sell nationwide,” Lolita said.
Rick had worked at Sam’s Club since 1990 and was in charge of the receiving area for about half of that time. He said driving a forklift and walking on cement all that time “started taking a toll,” so he was ready for a change.
Lolita has worked 17 years for a trading card company that keeps Target stores supplied with collectible cards and games. Her territory includes North Dakota, South Dakota and about a third of Minnesota.
The couple decided to open up despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has caused hardship for many businesses, particularly bars, restaurants, and the hospitality and entertainment industries.
“When is a good time?” Rick asks. “You just have to follow your gut. I have no choice but to be successful. I have a mortgage to pay.”
The store also has a full basement. Rick said that after some repairs, the space will be usable and that’s where items like farm implements and wagon wheels will be displayed. Farm-related items are Lolita’s specialty.
“She’s the rust and dirt girl,” he said. Cream cans, sausage makers, plows and cultivators, “That’s her baby, right there. Anything that is metal, that’s her.”
They enjoy the give and take with customers.
“Her and I really enjoy just this chitter chatter. And the stories. Having people say they had this (item or another) on the farm. That’s the fun part of it,” Rick said.
“I’m a gabber,” Lolita said. “This is like going down memory lane. I love to tell stories about the pieces. ... It’s been a blast so far.”
Rick’s interest lies with history.
“I like the old books and old magazines. I love looking through a lot of that stuff,” he said.
“We’ve got just about everything,” he added, though they have decided not to carry guns or coins. They also have a limited amount of toys.
The couple pick their stock at online and live auctions.
“And we also have a couple honey holes where we go. We don’t tell anyone where we’re picking,” Lolita said.
The affinity with and appreciation of the past is a shared pursuit, Lolita said..
“We always looked for something we could do together, to spend more time together,” she said. “It’s an addiction, literally.”
Antique Addiction is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed on Sunday.