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The Old School Antique Mall encourages emotional connections

Hannah Brown
Kiowa County Signal
Doris Headrick (pictured) and Susan Clayton (not pictured) admit they are emotionally connected to the building and the items they sell at The Old School Antique mall in Mullinville.

The Mullinville Antique mall has been around for six years, with Susan Clayton being at the helm since November 2018. Doris Headrick and a group of her friends started the antique mall in 2014, deeming it The Old School Antique Mall. 

Headrick was interviewed in 2016 by the Kiowa County Signal, spoke fondly of the people who grew up in the area and attended school in the building who now reminisce when they visit. The antique mall spans three rooms which used to house home economics, science, and music classrooms. Headrick said people will say “I used to cook here” or “I used to go to band in this room.”

The store gets its name from the location of the shop. The Old School Antique Mall is located in the old high school building in Mullinville, which isn’t used anymore as K-12 students from Mullinville attend Kiowa County Schools in Greensburg. 

“I think having the mall in our old high school is very important to our community,” said Clayton. “It's so much better for the building to be occupied than just sitting empty.”

Vendors are able to arrange their items in a rented space. They are responsible for pricing and displaying their items, but do not have to be there when the store is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Clayton teaches at Haviland Grade School during the week, which limits her availability.

“My vendors are amazing and provide so many unusual, unique and interesting items,” Clayton said. “I have been exposed to so many beautiful and intriguing items, since I have been involved with the antique mall. It's my favorite place to shop!”

Some of her favorite items that come through the shop are milk bottles, milk cans, and ice cream tins from Gardiner’s Dairy in Garden City. 

“My great-grandfather acquired this dairy in the 1920's from his brother, and it remained a family business until 1972,” said Clayton. “My first job was working in the dairy's office in the 1960s, so to purchase these items, from various vendors now, is very special to me.”

Some people might wonder why it’s important to have an antique mall in a town with a population of less than 250 people. Clayton says that it is important for several reasons. 

“I'm amazed at how people from all over the country are in awe of the beauty of the old building and enjoy just touring the building,” said Clayton. I enjoy the comments and it's exciting when former students come back to visit.”

Clayton also said she recognizes the strong emotional connection that she has with the building. Both her and her late husband taught junior high classes there. Her current husband’s grandfather used his team of horses to slope the floor in the auditorium. Her mother-in-law graduated in the late 40’s. The building is nearing its 100th birthday, which it will celebrate in 2025. Clayton is thankful for the dedication of the Mullinville Recreation Board, who owns the building, and maintains and repairs the building when necessary. 

To keep up with the happenings of the shop, visit their facebook page at The Old School Antique Mall.