There’s something mysterious and somewhat magical about antique malls.

Antique dealers set up their booths with items that they or someone else previously owned – or items that sat undiscovered for years in a basement or an attic. Each item most likely has its own story or some sentimental meaning. Long before iPods, cell phones and personal digital assistants, people cherished simple items like trinkets, kitchen dishes and furniture.

Mark K. Ufferman has been in the antique business for 13 years and he purchased Brown’s Emporium Antique Mall five years ago. The antique mall has relocated from its Kansas City location to an Independence location at 13720 E. U.S. 40, Suite A.

On Nov. 24, Brown’s began breathing new life into the Noland Fashion Mall. Now in its 16th year of operation, the antique mall was looking to expand and attract a busier traffic area, Ufferman said.

“We’re friendly. We’re outgoing,” Ufferman said when asked what sets Brown’s aside from other antique malls. “We’re trying to help customers find that one special gift that they’re looking for.”

I spent a significant amount of my childhood in antique malls because my mother loves anything – and, everything, it seems – from the 1930s through 1970s. Within the last several years, I’ve truly grown to appreciate what antiques have to offer in their charms.

As I perused Brown’s Emporium on Monday afternoon, I enjoyed the sounds of “Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. I also noticed a highlight of the business that Ufferman had pointed out in our earlier telephone interview – the diverseness of antiques.

Antique malls are like museums because in one 18,000-square-foot facility and within 45 minutes, I found items that would have taken me days to find elsewhere: six Barbie patterns from 1961, an Argus movie camera, a birthday voodoo doll and the complete JFK biography, which cost 50 cents when it was first published in 1963.

During our interview, I asked Ufferman what attracted him to the antique business because it takes a special person to appreciate these items. Ufferman said he has been in the antique business for 13 years.

“I always enjoyed history and the type of person that used these items 50, 100, 200 years ago and their daily life and how it improved their life with different cooking items and tools,” he said.

Ufferman said the antique mall has items that date back to the early 1800s and more “modern” antiques from the 1950s and 1960s. Right now, the business has more than 50 dealers, but it has the capacity for more than 100 dealers.  

Two large window displays greet customers when they first walk in – Ufferman said the displays will rotate among different items in the dealers’ booths.

“That’s one of the first things that you see when you’re approaching the building,” he said. “We’re very excited to be in Independence because we’re meeting a lot of new customers, and we’ve already had customers from throughout the country and a lot of old customers are finding us, too.”

Brown’s Emporium is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. In my young age, I’m left with one question about these kinds of stores: What constitutes an “antique?”

Bar and grill closed

Fuel American Made Bar and Grill has closed its doors at 3945 S. Bolger Road in Independence. For more information about the restaurant and its existing locations, visit www.fuelkc.com.