If you’ve driven through Bellevue along Ohio River Boulevard, the big purple building has likely caught your eye. If you’re feeling curious and nostalgic, I’d recommend you check it out.
Antique Mall at Ohio River, at 4331 Ohio River Blvd, opened 17 years, and was painted its trademark purple hue shortly after. Manager Robert Parise, of the Northside, said it was painted purple “to go along with our quirky craziness, to make it stick out.” And it does. Inside and out. Prior to an antique store, it was an engine repair shop and before that, a private residence.
The three-story building, plus addition, is stuffed with an eclectic mix of vintage clothing and jewelry, mid-century furniture, toys, as well as retro household and kitchen items from past generations. Today’s electronic games have nothing on a Barney Rubble bank, Cabbage Patch doll, or ‘the slaphappiest’ “Hands Down” game of the ’60’s. Need a pair of cowboy boots with a lime green inlay? How about a dress form?
Nearly 30 vendors rent space to sell their vintage goods and Robert said they can make room for more. Some rent entire rooms within the old, 3-story Victorian while some rent just a small tabletop display. Four vendors have been on-site from the onset.
Out of necessity, the Antique Mall’s online presence has ramped up during the pandemic. While the store closed temporarily last summer, customers could shop online – scouring through photos of credenzas, figurines, swag lights, and Warrior Trolls – and make a no-contact pick up outside.
Customers are welcomed inside now to browse the endless array of furniture, antiques and ephemera, as social distancing is easy within the expansive layout of the building.
While using new means to communicate helped, Parise credits their loyal customer-base for keeping them in business during this unexpectedly difficult year. “That’s what really allowed us to bounce back,” he said.
IF YOU GO: The Antique Mall on Ohio River is located on Route 65 in Bellevue. Hours of operation are currently every day, Mon to Saturday, 10 am to 5:30 pm, and Sunday from 12 pm to 4:30 pm. Masks are required for entry. You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.