Highway 69 Antiques & American Junk—
by Barb Stillman
A recent trip back to Phoenix from Prescott gave me the opportunity to visit two special shops in Mayer—Highway 69 Antiques and American Junk. This was my first trip to Mayer and the easy detour off Highway 69 was a pleasant drive through one of Arizona’s smaller towns. At one time this was a main road from Phoenix to Prescott so the shops along Central Avenue have seen their share of history.
Highway 69 Antiques
Highway 69 Antiques is a new business that opened in January of this year in the old gas station in Historic Old Town Mayer. It’s right on the main road among other historic buildings that have been converted to local businesses and is easy to find with its wide-open garage door welcoming customers.
I was greeted by Stacy Morgan who runs the shop on Sunday. Stacy lives nearby and is an expert on Mayer’s history and the area—which she loves to share with customers. Her home once served as a bonafide bordello and she even has a photo of Wyatt Earp on his horse in front of the residence.
Highway 69 Antiques specializes in antique advertising, automobilia, sports memorabilia and any unusual items that owner Ron Smisek can find. He says his antique shop is “like a museum except everything is for sale.” Ron had searched for the perfect location to sell his large inventory of antiques and collectibles and the old Mayer garage/gas station seemed to be just what he was looking for.
For many years, Ron purchased and installed antiques and collectibles around the U.S. for the large restaurant chain TGIFriday. When the company decided to use fewer antiques in their restaurants, Ron was left with the inventory. Rather than sell the items at auction, he decided to open a “country antique shop” and become a shop owner once again.
Ron began collecting antiques at the age of 16 and has been involved with antiques ever since. He says, “I appreciate the history of each piece and go to great lengths to learn about everything I come across.” From 1975 to 1998 he owned an antique store in Frederick, Maryland, before moving to Arizona. He also currently has a booth at The Antique Trove in Scottsdale.
The day I stopped by, Ron had just returned from an 8,800-mile road trip to the country’s largest and perhaps best-known outdoor antique markets in Brimfield, MA, and was resting up. He makes an annual trek to Brimfield in search of items to bring back to his shop. This trip he brought back 255 treasures especially chosen for his shop and he and Stacy were readying one of the rooms in the shop to showcase the new items.
Ron is also a regular buyer at California’s Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena and the Long Beach Flea Market, as well as at the Round Top Swap meets in Texas. Ron says, “I am always looking for unusual items to offer our customers.”
Highway 69 Antiques is located at 12755 E. Central Ave. The shop is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or later and appointments are welcome. You can reach Ron at 602-690-8147. Visit their website www.highway69antiques.com or like their Facebook page at Highway 69 Antiques.
Across the street is another newer business—American Junk. This shop is located in the former Mayer Post Office; there’s even the old metal emblem on the front door. Owner Brent Hagstrom was there to show me around.
American Junk offers many one-of-a-kind items all reasonably priced, including western antiques, signage, toys and games, and automobilia, just to name a few. He also has cabin items, such as the moose head displayed on the wall and a canoe suspended from the ceiling with a small bear cub looking over the edge. You will also find made-to-order custom barn-wood furniture handcrafted by Brent.
American Junk opened in February 2014 when Brent discovered that this building was available to lease. He had been looking for a location “off the beaten path” and finds Mayer a great place to be. He had been buying antiques and collectibles for years and felt the time was right to open a shop.
Buying, selling and trading come naturally to Brent and he enjoys meeting the customers that come through his door. Also there to greet his customers are his two cats, Elly and Cleo, although I think they might have been napping the day I visited because I did not get to see them. I did find a nice porch swing out front that looked very inviting. It would make a nice spot to sit and visit or take a quick catnap.
Brent just traveled to Albuquerque, NM, to the Great Southwestern Events in search for some western antiques to offer his customers.
As the business grows, Brent is planning to be open on the weekdays. Currently American Junk is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shop address is 12778 E. Central Ave. You can reach Brent at 530-321-0741.
There were a couple of other shops along Central Ave that would have been interesting to check out but, unfortunately, it was closing time. Just down the street is The Bradshaw Mtn. Wildlife Thrift Store and a few doors further down is Big Bug Station Bakery & Sandwich Shop where I am told they have amazing sandwiches. I’ll just have to come back for another visit to Mayer.
If you go, please tell the shops that you heard about them from The Antique Register—you might want to call ahead to find out when the other shops are open. Mayer is off Highway 69, which intersects with I-17 at Cordes Junction and takes you into Prescott. From I-17 go 8 miles and turn left on Central Avenue in Mayer.