The Post Bulletin recently named its "Best of the Best 2019," a contest in which readers vote to pick their favorite local businesses.

"Best Antique Store" was one category. Here's a look inside the top three stores:

The winner is Old Rooster Antiques, 106 N. Broadway, Rochester. Ron Ruport is the owner and manager. This shop has been around since 1986. A dealer there, Richard, said, “Currently we have 15 dealers and we carry many unique glassware, pottery, china, dolls with a doll repair as well as having a book dealer in house. And of course furniture in the basement. No we don't have sales and do call first to 507-287-6228 if coming in to have an appraisal, as not all dealers do appraisals.”

Second finalist is John Kruesel of John Kruesel's General Merchandise and Auction Company, 22 Third St. SW, Rochester. This shop is a bit different from the ordinary antique shop or mall -- more like, as John says, “Some may refer to us at this shop as a “Dickens Curiosity Shop” as well as an information source of the obscure.”

I have known of John from the time when our family lived in Rochester in the '70s, and as long as I have known of him he has been collecting and has a love of Rochester history. It is reflected in his shop. “The shop opened in 1978," he said. "We have always had a general line of items that we strive to have, shall we say less common items in lighting, documents, time pieces, and try to be historical consultants in almost all lines with a feeling of being stewards of such. For the future, I hope that there will continue to be those that are seeking such beyond the use of the internet.” For an upcoming auction, you may want to go to the website, www.kruesel.com, to see what is being planned for the auction on Oct. 19.

Third finalist is Mystic Moon Antiques & Collectibles, owned by Al and Peg Chihak, 1224 10th St. NW, Stewartville. In an old farmhouse where they once started around 2007, they continue to sell at this location. Al said, “Wow, did not know we were nominated. What we continue to hear from our customers is we have a nice, clean shop, we are friendly and have reasonable prices. We will continue to use our large shed for larger items for weekends like Gold Rush, holidays and flea markets."

The store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Mystic Moon's end of the year sale will be Oct. 17-20. Then it will be by appointment after the 20th.

"Best of the Best" also featured a Consignment category. The winner, Kismet, has many antiques and collectibles.

For about 16 years, Penny Bracken has owned most of the block where Kismet is located, 601 N. Broadway, Rochester, with her consignment fashion, central and home stores.

“I would probably consider Kismet to be more of an eclectic consignment store of contemporary women’s fashions, furniture and home decor of all eras," Bracken said. "I think that people enjoy coming to Kismet, as each piece from the past carries its own history and to each person it speaks it own message. For many, it is like walking down memory lane, as pieces remind them of days gone by.

"It is very easy to combine an antique piece into a contemporary lifestyle," she said. "I encourage people to be creative and go with their feelings if they like a piece. I display merchandise in many varied ways to show customers how fun it can be to combine styles. I get satisfaction that Kismet is helping people move things through their lives while providing value and fun in the process.

"The years have gone by like the blink of the eye, yet the relationships and friends I have made will last a lifetime," Bracken said.

Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer concentrating on vintage, antique and collectible items. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at life@postbulletin.com.

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