(Top) Debby Wittenmyer points out one of her favorite items in A Link to the Past Antique Mall: a 19th-century French Sarreguimines "head jug," priced at $250.
(Bottom) Wittenmyer also rents space to other antique dealers. One Brazil-area dealer Wittenmyer features in her store specializes in antique toys and other novelties.
By ANDY MCCAMMON
About four years ago, Debby Eilbracht ran into an old boyfriend, Rockville-area antique enthusiast Bill Wittenmyer, and fell in love -- twice.
It didn't take long with Bill. They dated in the early '80s, ran into each other in October 2001 and were married June 7, 2002. The other love developed more gradually, as Bill introduced her to the "antiquing" lifestyle.
They traveled to auctions and yard sales across the area, spending more and more of their free time looking for "that buy of a lifetime," Debby said.
"Those auctions are addicting," she said. "It just kind of took on a life of its own."
She eventually landed a job at Gilley's Antique Mall in Plainfield, where she worked for two years before she and her husband decided to go into business for themselves.
Bill and Debby Wittenmyer opened A Link to the Past Antique Mall April 1. The store occupies a 3,000-square-foot space at 111 W. National Ave. in Brazil and stocks a dizzying variety of antiques: An early 20th-century phonograph (yep, it plays), a number of impressive pieces of hardwood furniture, shelves -- full of antique glassware -- even a few of Debby's own paintings.
Some antique outlets feature price tags even more jaw-dropping than their merchandise, something Debby said she specifically avoids. The most expensive item in A Link to the Past: a mint-condition, Tiger Oak dresser from the early 1900s, priced at $375.
"You won't find anything in here that is outrageously priced. We look for good items and try to keep the prices low," she said. "We realize not everybody has thousands of dollars to spend on pieces of furniture."
The Wittenmyers also rent space in their store to other dealers, charging minimal rent and a modest 5 percent commission.
A Link to the Past is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To inquire about renting space in the store, call (812)442-1918.