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Not Only for Tourists: A Special Look Inside The Alamo Antique Mall

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The Alamo Antique Mall in San Antonio isn’t a typical antique store.

First of all, the place is huge. It’s about 23,000 square feet of space, filled with all sorts of different antiques. Over 30 dealers have space here. There are three floors of merchandise, including everything from vintage clothing to 1950s memorabilia. The feeling that you get when you walk in is that these folks are serious about their antiquing.

Not Only for Tourists: A Special Look Inside The Alamo Antique Mall

Photo: Paul Ehrlich

When you talk to the owner, she reinforces that feeling. Linda Brantley inherited the Antique Mall from her mother, Tonie Cortez. Tonie and Juan Cortez moved into the building back in 1992, but they had been selling antiques downtown since the 1980s. Linda Brantley definitely is a local.

Lovey Deuley, a store manager, started out as a customer. Then, twenty years ago, Tonie Cortez asked Lovey if she wanted a part-time job. Lovey figured that a little extra spending money never hurt. Now, she’s managing the store – at 80 years old.

Until recently, Lovey enjoyed speaking with customers from all over the world. Their store is only a few blocks from downtown, so they got a lot of business from conventions and sightseers. Unfortunately, because of COVID, most of their business dried up.

Not Only for Tourists: A Special Look Inside The Alamo Antique Mall

Photo: Lovey Deuley, taken by Paul Ehrlich

That’s too bad. The Alamo Antique Mall is a pretty special place. Just the building itself has a unique history. Built in 1886, it started out as an antique piano store. Then a paper supply came in. They were there for a number of years.

The Alamo Antique Mall came in after that. There have only been three tenants in the building since 1886, and two of them were antique stores! Some folks may refer to this as luck, but it also could be fate.

Not Only for Tourists: A Special Look Inside The Alamo Antique Mall

Photo: Paul Ehrlich

Linda and Lovey also do community outreach. They help the local street people get something to eat when times are tough. On hot days, they offer water to disadvantaged people. In return, street people keep an eye on the place. If something’s wrong in the neighborhood, they let the folks at Alamo Antique Mall know about it.

In some ways, the Mall was like the local bar. People would drop in and just socialize. Now many folks are nervous. They tend to shy away from downtown San Antonio.

Of course, the folks at Alamo Antique Mall are taking precautions against COVID-19. They have a hand sanitizer station up, and they often spray down the doors and counters with disinfectant. Most folks are cooperating and wearing masks too.

It’s too bad that people are avoiding the downtown areas. There’s plenty to see here. For instance, the Alamo Antique Mall just got a new Japanese World War II collection, including a full uniform. Apparently, there’s even blood on some of the items!

If World War II memorabilia doesn’t interest you, there are a lot of other unique pieces to see. The Mall has plenty of coins, along with vintage clothing and jewelry. Lovey once sold a pin to a customer for $12. It turned out later to be 14 karat gold. Oops.

Not Only for Tourists: A Special Look Inside The Alamo Antique Mall

Photo: Paul Ehrlich

The store also has a large collection of vintage toys, along with a great collection of arrowheads. If this selection seems eclectic to you, well, it is. The Alamo Antique Mall may be the one place for all of your holiday shopping needs. Any collectors in your family will probably be well-taken care of.

Not Only for Tourists: A Special Look Inside The Alamo Antique Mall

Photo: Paul Ehrlich

Another reason to consider the Alamo Antique Mall for your Christmas shopping is that everything is negotiable. Times are tight for many folks right now, so that could be a big help. It’s good to know that the ladies are willing to work with reasonable offers.

So, pretend you’re a tourist, head to San Antonio downtown, and stop at the Alamo Antique Mall! Just don’t drive like you’re from out-of-state. Leave California drivers in California.