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Granville family buys Hillestad antiques

It was an antique pick of mega proportions. One customer purchased the entire contents of Jim’s Antiques store.

4/25/17 (Tue)

Customer takes it all . . . An old sign along Second Avenue in Kenmare will no longer be displayed as Jim Hillestad has sold the contents of his antique store to the Wittmayer family from Granville. Jim and Sylvia Hillestad have been in business in Kenmare since 1962.

By Marvin Baker

It was an antique pick of mega proportions. One customer purchased the entire contents of Jim’s Antiques store.

After 55 years in business in Kenmare, Jim and Sylvia Hillestad have sold the majority of their antiques to Scott and Angie Wittmayer of Granville.

Hillestad will continue to dabble in antiques, but will no longer attend shows or auctions. He said they still have a lot of antiques, but wanted to clear out the building that served as their antique store.

On Thursday, the Wittmayers were loading a building full of antiques into several trailers they had parked at the Hillestad property, two blocks east of State Bank & Trust of Kenmare.

According to Angie Wittmayer, her family is just getting into the antique business and Hillestad’s sale to them is a great way to start down a new path.

“He had everything under the sun,” she said. “He had a good eye.”

The Wittmayers are already involved in a scrap iron business that involves everything from old cars to abandoned farm machinery.

The family business goes by the name of Wittmayer Scrap Iron LLC.

Wittmayer said she wants to get into antiques because she likes to go to shows so why not sell items while she is there.

Her intent is start attending some of the area shows this summer and fall.

With about two days remaining of loads going to the farm just outside of Granville, Wittmayer didn’t have a lot of time to analyze what she and Scott were clearing out.

However, she did say that there were a lot of items in the building that will have sentimental value to many people.

“It brings back so many memories when you see things from your childhood,” Wittmayer said. “There’s a lot of history in there from the school, the churches and old milk bottles with the paper caps.”

In addition, she said they discovered several items from the Kenmare creamery and Hillestad had a knack for collecting a lot of items from Canada. At one time, he made frequent trips to Canada to collect antiques.

As far as items that may carry some serious value; Wittmayer said it’s too early to tell, but after everything is positioned at the farm, she will have time to go through it all and do some cross referencing to check absolute values.

“We’re not really looking at this stuff right now,” she said. “We have to keep going. We have to load all this, take it to Granville, unload it all and come back for another two days of loads.”

If anyone is interested in some of the antiques coming out of the Jim’s Antiques building, she would be happy to talk about it. She can be reached at 701-833-4727, while husband Scott is at 701-833-2094.

Up until this time, Wittmayer would check out antiques on area farms where they were picking up scrap metal and sometimes purchase them from the farmer.

Now, she has an inventory to work with and get ready for sale.

“Jim has done a lot of my work for me,” Wittmayer said. “He was a very hard working man.”

Hillestad, who turns 97 on Friday, has been working with used and antique items since he opened Jim’s Secondhand Store in Kenmare in 1962. He and Sylvia once held weekend sales downtown.

The Hillestads also regularly attended auctions, flea markets and antique shows to buy and sell items. For a time, they also specialized in oak furniture.

Jim Hillestad, who had been active in antiques until three or four years ago, had been wanting to sell the business for the past two years.

Wittmayer said she learned of Hillestad’s “treasures” last summer when they hauled away some vans that the Hillestads owned.

“We’ll be done sometime next week,” Wittmayer said. “Then, we can sort it all out at the farm.”

According to Hillestad, they started talking, Wittmayer made him an offer and they agreed on a deal.

“She took me by surprise,” Hillestad said. “When they showed up, she showed me a wad of cash.”

Hillestad said it was the best way to part with the antiques and clean out the building.

“If I would have had an auction, I would have had to hire everyone to work it,” he said. “There’s no way I could have done that. So, to clean it out, this was the best way to do it. Everything goes.”

Sometime this summer Hillestad intends to have an auction to sell off some of his wood work and woodworking tools... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!