Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Architectural Artifacts: A New Chapter in Texas, the Thriving Antiques Capital of the US


After three decades of enchanting Chicagoans with its unique collection of antiques and artifacts, the beloved Architectural Artifacts is set to embark on a new chapter in rural Texas. Stuart Grannen, the visionary behind this remarkable establishment, has decided to relocate his business to Round Top, a decision influenced by several compelling reasons.

One of the primary motivations for this move emerges from Round Top’s burgeoning reputation as the antiques capital of the United States. Grannen found an attractive real estate opportunity in this quaint town which, coupled with his desire to dial back on daily operations, made the location an ideal choice. However, it’s not just business logistics influencing this relocation; the climate plays a role too. Grannen, who openly admits his disdain for cold weather, believes that the warm Texan climate, despite its extremes, will be more agreeable than the chilly winds of Chicago.

Architectural Artifacts has been an integral part of Chicago’s community since its inception in 1987. Operating from a 35,000-square-foot former school, the store has offered more than just conventional antique items. It’s a treasure trove of extraordinary finds from around the globe, boasting items ranging from classic furniture and trinkets to a disassembled pharmacy from Argentina and a restored 1953 Moto Guzzi motorcycle. Grannen’s remarkable collection draws not only on their uniqueness but also on the inclusive, hands-on ethos he promotes—inviting customers to physically engage with pieces that could easily be found in a museum setting.

With a philosophy rooted in providing exceptional antiques within a lively and enjoyable shopping environment, Grannen is excited to bring this ethos to Round Top. This small town, nestled in Fayette County, has gained a national reputation for its antique offerings. Round Top is renowned for its Antique Shows, a festival held thrice a year that attracts around 200,000 visitors, eager to explore what the 65 stores spread across a 20-mile radius have to offer.

The new Texas location for Architectural Artifacts will occupy the former premises of the Legal Tender Saloon in Warrenton, just outside Round Top city limits. This historic venue, which has operated as a saloon and dancehall since the 1880s, retains much of its original charm—a feature that undoubtedly appealed to Grannen. Additionally, the property includes a farmhouse, providing Grannen a personal retreat during his stays in Texas. His move to Round Top aligns with his passion for travel, as he currently spends a significant portion of the year scouring the globe outside the United States.

Architectural Artifacts is not merely a store but a community space, featuring a restaurant, bar, cafe, and event space alongside three pickleball courts in its Chicago location. Grannen plans to replicate this successful combination of antiques, fun, and socializing in Texas. However, the transition will take time, with the move from Chicago scheduled for April 15 and the grand opening in Texas anticipated in early 2025.

Despite the impending closure of its Chicago location, Architectural Artifacts already has a presence in Round Top, with a 15,000-square-foot space acquired inside Market Hill since the previous October. This move signifies not just a change of address for Grannen and his business but a shift in focus towards the excitement and potential of Round Top’s bustling festival scene—allowing him more freedom to pursue his passion for discovering the next extraordinary antique.

As Architectural Artifacts prepares to turn the page, Grannen is optimistic about the future. Round Top, with its charm, potential, and vibrant antique community, seems the perfect backdrop for the next chapter in the storied journey of this remarkable antique store. “It’s pretty exciting. I feel a lot of potential. I see a lot of fun,” says Grannen, affirming his belief that Round Top is, indeed, the ideal destination for the new home of Architectural Artifacts.

Natalie Kimura
Natalie Kimura
Natalie Kimura is a business correspondent known for her in-depth interviews and feature articles. With a background in International Business and a passion for global economic affairs, Natalie has traveled extensively, providing her with a unique perspective on international trade and global market dynamics. She started her career in Tokyo, contributing to various financial journals, and later moved to London to expand her expertise in European markets. Natalie's expertise lies in international trade agreements, foreign investment patterns, and economic policy analysis.

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