A must stop for many collectors on the Northern Michigan antiques trail, the building is as interesting as its contents. The massive wooden structure, just a block off downtown and Crystal Lake, was built in 1907. At one time it included a feed and grain mill with a milk house and artesian well cooler in the front portion. It housed coal that was brought in by rail from the 1920s to 40s, and in its later years it was a farmers cooperative. In the 1970s the building operated as the Beulah Lumber Company.
In 1984, Basil Myers rescued the turn-of-the-century structure from deterioration and embarked on more than a decade of renovation, transforming it into one of the most memorable antique markets in Northern Michigan.
His first idea was to turn it into a bed and breakfast country inn. But Myers had a life-long love of antiques and collectables, including a substantial primitive farm collection that he had begun while living in the Detroit area, so he changed his mind and began renovating the 10,000-square-foot space into an antique market instead.
I began renovating the back portion because it was the easiest, Myers said. It was a long-term project that just evolved as we went.
In the summer of 1989 he opened for business, starting what is now known as the granary family which consists of about 20 exhibitors.
The three-phase renovation included demolishing the built-for-a-lifetime coal bins. All the fir lumber was saved and used upstairs in beautifully refurbished living quarters. The old grain bins are now rooms with nearly 16-foot high walls and are where the dealers have their open air booth spaces. The rooms still retain the original vertical ladders, which accessed the bins from above. The high ceilings lend openness to the upstairs, and the additions of skylights, sliding glass doors and decking add to the ambience.
Now in its 21st year, Basils son Jed took over The Granary when he retired in 2005.
Jed has a graphic design degree from CMU but says it just sort of happened that he is now running the family business.
I started selling sports memorabilia when I was about 15 and then worked all my summers here with dad, so Ive grown up around it. I feel very comfortable here. When Dad decided to retire, it seemed like the natural thing for me to do. I like helping people find unusual things. Its pretty hard to not walk out of here without some kind of unique treasure.
Jed has made some changes in the ways things are arranged, and at 28, brings a youthful perspective to the world of antiques and collectables.
I think the Internet has hurt the general antique malls, with eBay and craigslist and sites like that, he offered. The market is flooded with all kinds of items that used to be hard to find. But a lot of our customers enjoy walking through the old building and people still want to come in and touch things. We have such an amazing collection that there is something here for everyone, and many things can still be used its the ultimate form of recycling.
Along with the great variety of antiques and collectables, youll also find the Leelanau Wine Cellars wine tasting center, now in its 13th year, at Myers Granary, where Jed is often the one pouring the wine and will be happy to take you on a tour of the place upon request. Gourmet Michigan and local food products are also available.
Myers Granary is open seven days a week through October: Mon.-Sat., 10 6; Sunday, 12-6. Call 231-882-9422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.