The Hill Antique Market Opens Next Week, Bringing Shopping to a Food Destination

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Carleen Kramer and Jennifer Pass are excited about the Hill Antique Market's opening next week. - SARAH FENSKE
  • SARAH FENSKE
  • Carleen Kramer and Jennifer Pass are excited about the Hill Antique Market's opening next week.

The Hill Antique Market (4923 Daggett Avenue), which opens its doors next Wednesday, wants to provide something new to the city's historic Italian neighborhood: an experience that's not centered around food.

"We see the bus tours coming on Saturdays, and they have nothing to do but eat," says Carleen Kramer, the director of sales and marketing for Catering St. Louis, which owns the market. "They might go to Volpi and buy sausages, but that's it. So why thought, 'Why don't we try doing an antique market there?'"



"There" is the century-old warehouse adjacent to Catering St. Louis' event space, Oliva on the Hill. Company owner Mark Erker saw potential in the site, which was originally used to construct electric engines for the mining business. (More recently, construction crews working on the Kingshighway Bridge project used it as a convenient headquarters.) After closing on the building, Erker got to work on a complete transformation. Or, as Kramer says modestly, "We just sort of gutted it."

Fifty stalls now fill what was previously an empty industrial warehouse. - SARAH FENSKE
  • SARAH FENSKE
  • Fifty stalls now fill what was previously an empty industrial warehouse.

Next Wednesday, May 1, the company will unveil the results of its labor, opening the antique market to the public for the first time. A total of 50 vendors will have stalls on site, Kramer says. A few are artists, although most are selling antiques.



"We tried to carefully curate it," she says. "This is not a 'bring your stuff and make it into a yard sale' set-up. This is really good stuff."

Jennifer Pass is one of the vendors who've signed on to the company's vision. Describing her style as "primitive rustic," she says she loves the combination of contemporary art and vintage goods and was thrilled to snag a booth. "I had an immediate reaction, like 'I have to work here,'" she says of the market. "The mix of antiques and contemporary artists — it's everything I love."

A vendor works to ready his space on Wednesday, April 24. - SARAH FENSKE
  • SARAH FENSKE
  • A vendor works to ready his space on Wednesday, April 24.

And it might be just what the neighborhood is waiting for. As Kramer observers, the Hill has been booming, with new construction and a wave of new bars and restaurants shaking up the area's reputation as a hotbed of old-school Italian (and only old-school Italian). Oliva on the Hill has been part of that; its "Wine Down Wednesdays," which open the event space to the public one evening a week, have become a popular draw in the neighborhood.

"The Hill is exploding," she says. "We've created this community thing, and we couldn't be happier about it."

The Hill Antique Market will be open daily as of May 1. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday to accommodate Wine Down Wednesday shoppers.

Some booths are strictly antiques; others offer new items. - SARAH FENSKE
  • SARAH FENSKE
  • Some booths are strictly antiques; others offer new items.
The old warehouse needed a thorough cleaning, but the bones were good, says Catering St. Louis owner Mark Erker. - SARAH FENSKE
  • SARAH FENSKE
  • The old warehouse needed a thorough cleaning, but the bones were good, says Catering St. Louis owner Mark Erker.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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