Since 1999, Vintage Collections has operated on the corner of Market and 4th Street in Mount Carmel. After 20 years of operating in that location, business operations came to an abrupt close on Oct. 6 when the building collapsed due to damage caused by a storm back in late June.

Laura Wilderman opened Vintage Collection on June 21, 1999. Wilderman Appliances, which was been owned and operated by Dave Wilderman and his father, had operated there since 1976 until selling in 1994.

Laura operated, managed and grew Vintage Collections into a favorite shopping spot for many people from all over the country. “Laura was instrumental in implementing a business plan for Vintage Collections growth as part of the Mount Carmel uptown community. Lots of friends and loyal customers have come by making the business a wonderful and successful experience filled with fun.”

As anyone who had been inside the building could tell you, Vintage Collections sold antiques, primitive furniture, quilts, collectibles, costume jewelry, vintage decor and many many more fun vintage items. However, that all came to an abrupt halt when a storm came plowing through Mount Carmel— that storm would later produce a tornado that would touch down in Petersburg, Ind.

Dave Wilderman recounted what happened after that storm blew through.

“After the storm, we had some drop ceiling issues. We started trying to fix that, not understanding why we were having problems in the first place. However, what was first thought to be a ceiling issue was actually roof damage from an extreme heavy wind and simultaneous heavy rain.”

Shortly thereafter, Dave’s wife, Laura, came in to work only to discover that the ceiling had collapsed in their main showroom. Dave knew that something was amiss and called his insurance agent and filed a claim immediately. Then, engineers were called in to assess the property.

“Engineers found extreme structure damage and determined the building to be unsafe and ordered that no one enter the front half of the building. They came back about a week later and informed us that the building was unsafe for anyone to enter at all.”

The Wildermans placed barricades on the sidewalk in front of the business so no one could get close to the building. Then, a month later, another round of wind and storms came through.

“The wall fell about 4 weeks later during some winds and was not a surprise. This is why the barricades had been erected around the building.”

Many people were disappointed and upset when the building collapsed, and there were many questions concerning Vintage Collections, chiefly: would they be reopening. The answer to that question came shortly after the building collapsed. Laura posted the following message on Vintage Collections Facebook page:

“Dave and I would like to give a giant shout out/thank you to Jeff and Derek Guisewite and their entire crew. From day one, they took care of everything in such a friendly, professional way so that the situation did not feel so overwhelming.”

Dave reaffirmed Laura’s message when The Prairie Post reached out for comment.

“Jeff and Dereck Guisewite and their crew from Guisewite Construction did a wonderful job safely taking the building down. They worked tirelessly long hours and had it accomplished in three days. Unbelievable, we have a nice stand of grass! They responded immediately when we needed help with barricades and advice!”

Many on Vintage’s Facebook page have expressed how much of a detriment the loss of this business will be. Not only are the Wildermans strong supporters of the health and wellbeing of the uptown/Market Street region, but they also encourage and support other small business owners.

Over the past several years, Vintage Collections has housed a few other businesses. For around a year, the Handsome Rooster called Vintage home and has since transitioned to a greater online presence. The Wildermans’ building has also been home to Mount Carmel Massage Therapy, which is run by Stephanie Rye. Rye has now moved her business to 530 Westover Avenue.

So, what does the future hold for Vintage Collections? Laura answered just that in her Oct. 6 post on Vintage’s Facebook page.

“As for myself and Vintage Collections, we are not reopening at this location, but in the near future, I hope to be working for someone who is opening a business in Mt. Carmel similar to Vintage…”

Dave reiterated Laura’s message but clarified that the future of Vintage is still unclear.

“We will not rebuild. We intend on staying in the business, but we’re still not sure what that looks like. I am sure Laura will have this figured out soon as we recover. Vintage Collections will be in business!”

And, they are, in fact, still in business. Dave commented that they are still buying merchandise and that Laura will be attending antique shows like Collector’s Carnival Shows, which is being held this Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Gibson County Fair Grounds in Princeton, Ind. from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The Wildermans are still working on ideas for the future of Vintage and will update all of their customers and friends on the Vintage Collections Antique Mall Facebook page. For now, Vintage will continue on at the various antique shows and sales happening throughout the region.