MAPLE PARK – Josie’s Antiques, 15454 Illinois Route 38 in Maple Park, is celebrating 25 years of providing reasonably-priced antiques in a tranquil rural setting.
Josie Hopkins first set up shop in an old milking house on the farm. She borrowed $200 for tools and paint, added antiques from her home and put a hand-painted wood sign at the end of the long driveway. After about four years, Hopkins began expanding into the metal horse shed, which later became the main building. Enclosing the 50-foot-long open building and adding floors, windows and doors was a major undertaking. The 1839 barn was the next building to be renovated; it now houses thousands of antiques. Hopkins installed a staircase to the loft and a finished, drywalled room to house items from the early 1800s. The cottage evolved after many more years, and now offers used books and a tranquil retreat.
There have always been animals on the farm, such as sheep, peacocks, chickens and miniature horses, to greet visitors as they walk among the flower gardens between the buildings.
Since the beginning, Josie’s has been open seven days a week. Hopkins and her husband, Paul, raised eight children on the farm, and she said it was a welcoming experience to meet and greet other antiques enthusiasts while being a stay-at-home mom. Every brick path and hand-planted plant was a labor of love, and Hopkins loves the unique charm of each antique she finds and enjoys watching her customers find treasures.
And if the antiques, the setting and the animals aren’t enough, Hopkins is well-known for from-scratch chocolate chip cookies offered at the shop.
Sales and special events are planned for several weekends to celebrate the anniversary. Hopkins will sign copies of her book, “One Soul’s Journey: A Mystic’s Way Home,” available at the shop and at Amazon.com.