It took 20 years for James Heinemeier to amass the treasures of his antique dealer.
He expects it will take the next seven months to find new homes for everyone.
J&P’s Edelweiss at 435 E. Broadway in Alton will close by the end of October, Heinemeier said. He turns 70 in December, and while he says he never wants to stop collecting, he also wants to spend more time at home at Holiday Shores, fishing and spending time with his granddaughters.
“I’m ready to slow down and relax a bit,” he said.
Originally from Worden, Heinemeier said he had been collecting for a few years when in 1990 he opened a stall at what was then known as Debbie’s Decorative Antiques. From there it moved to the Alton Exchange and then to a location in the Mineral Springs Mall where it remained for about 12 years. It serves Alton customers in Edwardsville.
In February 2002, he opened Edelweiss at J&P. The “P” is for his wife, Pat, who helps with the finances.
“My business philosophy is, ‘Everyone is different who walks through that door,'” Heinemeier said.
He said one of the most interesting items to come through that door was a collection of buttons from the 1942 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans; the Missouri Tigers faced the Fordham Rams in a game he had never heard of at the time.
“Even since I’ve been doing it, I learn something every day,” he said. “Either the clients teach me this, or I learn on my own.”
Heinemeier said a person can walk in with just $5 and find something they like. With so many items in her store, tracking their value can be difficult.
“It’s judgmental sometimes,” he said. “I feel like I have to cut people a deal when they spend a few hundred dollars here.”
In February, the store began offering 20% off each item. In April everything will be 25% off, he said, followed by 30% off in May
The store is open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Monday.