Antiques, Ice Cream and More
by Jenny Dubach
Historic downtown storefronts and antiques and primitives go together like peas and carrots. Huntington, Indiana residents Adam and Rebecca Hanson operate an antique store in the city’s historic downtown.
But, as the Hansons like to say, it’s “not your average antique store.” Instead, Antiqology, located in Huntington, Indiana, is “a unique blend of old and new”—plus a lot more.
Adam is a native of the area, while Rebecca came to Huntington 11 years ago and decided to make it her home. The pair met at church—both were involved with the church youth group.
As a married couple, Antiqology is not the first business venture for Adam and Rebecca. A few years ago, they operated an online business together. Adam had prior experience in business management and had become accustomed to tasks relating to personnel and business finance.
Rebecca, on the other hand, was more experienced in retailing and merchandising. Their experiences make the Hansons a great business team—the strengths and expertise of one compliment the other.
The Hansons found they were not satisfied with the online business because it did not allow them to interact with customers face-to-face. At the same time, they were having a difficult time finding the “perfect mix” of old and new for furnishing and decorating their home. Adam and Rebecca began dreaming of a different sort of business and how they could make it a reality.
What would later become downtown Huntington’s Antiqology started in an enclosed porch area in the Hansons’ own home. With only a small initial investment, the couple “tested the waters” by selling antiques. It was important to determine whether the community had a need for this type of business.
Fortunately, the Hansons’ at-home antique shop was a huge success and began to grow quickly. But, as they discussed the possibility of expanding their business, it seemed a stretch to go from displaying items on their porch to filling an entire storefront.
Adam and Rebecca considered the needs of their community again. Like many other American communities, Huntington had once been home to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. But, that shop had been closed for some time. The Hansons realized that combining more than one business plan—based on the needs of their community—would increase their chances for success.
Antiqology celebrated its grand opening in downtown Huntington in 2012. Within four months, they had again outgrown the space and began searching for a new business home. Around the same time, the Huntington County Visitor’s Bureau held a “free rent” contest—offering a free year of rent to a business willing to commit to a three-year lease on its annex building on Jefferson Street.
Contest finalists, including Adam and Rebecca, presented their business plans to the tourism board. The lease and year of free rent were awarded to Antiqology. The Hansons spent about six weeks renovating the space before opening for business there in June 2013. They later received a Huntington Alert Historic Preservation Award for the work done on the historic building.
Today, Antiqology offers a wide variety of products and services, in addition to the selection of antique furnishings and décor. Adam selects and purchases merchandise for the store—aiming for just the right balance between old and new, while Rebecca assists customers and makes sure the shop runs smoothly.
At their old-fashioned soda counter, the Hansons serve an award-winning hard-scooped ice cream, hand-dipped milkshakes and malts, ice cream floats, sundaes, draft root beer and sodas, and nostalgic candy. The wall behind the counter features an impressive display of gourmet craft sodas always kept in stock. In fact, Antiqology offers around 700 varieties of glass-bottled craft sodas—the largest selection in the Midwest.
Antiqology offers online ordering option for the craft sodas, and the Hansons do enough business to keep 350,000 bottles on-hand. The glass bottles, by the way, are safer for the environment and carry no risk of exposure to the harmful chemical known as BPA. Root beer is the shop’s number-one selling craft soda, followed by cola.
Last year, Antiqology released a limited quantity of its own craft root beer in commemoration of Huntington’s annual Heritage Days festival. The drink was so well-received, Adam and Rebecca offered Antiqology soda again in 2016, this time two “special edition bicentennial brews” in recognition of Indiana’s 200th birthday.
Adam and Rebecca also dabble in wholesale soda sales and root beer keg rentals for special events. And, they own a 1960s International Metro that serves as Antiqology’s Soda Truck, available to rent for wedding receptions, corporate parties, tastings, festivals, etc.
The owners of Antiqology have played active roles within the community, including some volunteer work and charitable donations. And, Rebecca currently serves as the president of Main Street Huntington, the city’s downtown business association.
Having built a unique, successful business, Adam and Rebecca offer amazing advice for other entrepreneurs. “Buy within your budget, and add to your business as you go,” they say. “Be consistent with your hours, and be there to build it yourself—don’t rely on others to do it for you.
“You are responsible for your own future. Live within your means so that you can create a debt-free life and strong financial freedom for yourself in the long run.”
As busy as the Hansons are with their business and community commitments, family is still a big priority. Their daughter Maitlyn is a freshman at Huntington North High School, and their 8-year-old son Caleb is homeschooled. Maitlyn works in the store, and Caleb is a huge help behind the scenes—it won’t be long until he’s working right alongside his sister.
401 N. Jefferson Street
Huntington, IN 46750