Since October of 2007, Lighthouse Antiques and Crafts Mall has been attracting lovers of all things vintage and classic, the crafty and the curious. Located at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Pattison Street SE, Lighthouse Antiques in Olympia hosts over 100 dealers and an endless eye-catching variety of old objects, from the mundane to the beautiful and bizarre.
Diane Norman, a business partner of the owner, Arline DeBakker, helped to open Lighthouse 13 years ago, after Homespun Gift and Antique Mall in Tumwater closed its doors. She explains that she just kind of fell into the antique business after moving to the area nearly 20 years ago. Homespun “called my name,” she says. She began working there, and within a year, she found herself running the business. When the lease was up five years later, all of the dealers from Homespun followed Arline and Diane to Lighthouse Antiques and Crafts Mall, and a new Olympia landmark was born.
Diane has a passion for furniture, colored glassware, crystal and all kinds of unique things. One of the perks of working in the business, she explains, is that she’s able to rotate the items she keeps in her home every so often, keeping things fresh and interesting.
Collectors of all sorts will find an array of objects and oddities to liven up their collections in Lighthouse Antiques’ 10,000-square-feet of small shops and vendors. From oil paintings and other artwork to mason jars, old books, brass animals and Boy Scout trumpets, as well as new items by skilled crafters, there are endless interesting things to look at.
Once, Diane says, a customer sold her a trunkload of various odds and ends. Among the objects inside was an old-looking jug, about 20 inches tall. Diane tried to research the item but couldn’t determine its origin or value. “I got impatient,” she says, and she brought the jug into the store and priced it at $40.
Little did she know what a treasure she had on her hands. She sold the jug to a gentleman who turned out to be the curator of a museum in Seattle. Brimming with curiosity about the mystery object, Diane asked him if he knew what it was. “Oh yes,” he told her. “This jug is from China, and it’s over a 1,000 years old.” And, as Diane learned, its value was in the five-figure range. But she felt the story had a happy ending. She was glad to see the precious artifact end up in a museum, where it would be properly taken care of and preserved for the public to enjoy.
Exploring the many nooks and crannies throughout the meandering, labyrinth-like space, it’s easy to feel like a treasure hunter in Lighthouse Antiques and Craft Mall. Customers wander slowly among the shops of various vendors, lingering here and there over a set of Pyrex cookware, a stack of antique black and white photographs, or a vintage table lamp made of green glass. Each small area has so many interesting objects to discover that one could easily spend hours wandering through the store and still see only a fraction of what’s on offer.
Some vendors specialize in certain items, like china, glassware, or furniture. Others boast a colorful hodgepodge of objects and trinkets, old games and comics, vintage toys, shelves and carved wooden boxes, candle holders and antique medicine jars.
On the Lighthouse Antiques and Craft Mall Facebook page , there are posts highlighting different vendors. The Gutsy Cowgirl, Vendor 1391, features trucker hats from Yellowstone Dutton Ranch and T-shirts that say “I’d rather be eating pizza.” Vendor 3340 has books, artwork, lamps, dishes and many other items for sale. Vendor 3443, in Room 3, carries stuffed animals, a variety of little purses and bags, dollhouse furniture, and even an assortment of classic films on VHS.
Whatever you love, and whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it somewhere amidst the treasure at Lighthouse Antiques and Crafts Mall. Whether you’re hoping to add to your prized collection of miniature vases or find a unique container to put your loose change in, they’ve got you covered. Need a one-of-a-kind gift for someone special? You’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Looking for a way to get out of the house and do something interesting on a long, rainy afternoon? Take a leisurely stroll through the shelves of goodies here, and you never know, you might find a little piece of treasure for yourself.
Diane says that she’s happy to come to work at Lighthouse Antiques and Craft Mall every day. She enjoys the social aspect of her job, and she says she finds the work spiritually fulfilling, which is her definition of success. As for the customers, she says, “It’s wonderful to me that most people who walk through the door are just happy to be here and have a good time.”
Learn more by visiting the Lighthouse Antiques and Craft Mall Facebook page or just stop by and see what you can find. Lighthouse Antiques and Craft Mall is located at 2921 Pacific Ave SE in Olympia.