For the love of art

Shirley Guay and Rosalie Koldan hold up a going out of business sign inside their downtown Amboy business Amboy Arts and Antiques. The business partners decided to close the doors to the store so they can focus on creating art fulltime. Photo submitted

AMBOY — If you’ve taken a stroll along Main Street and have been accustomed to window shopping or stopping into a favorite spot there is no doubt that you’ve passed by the Amboy Arts and Antiques store. Walk in, and be consumed by a wonderfully diverse collection of antique furniture such as; dressers, chairs, and tables, some over a 100 years old. You’ll also find glasswork, cast iron items, records, books and pottery. The walls are adorned with photos and various types of artwork, much of it created by owners Shirley Guay and Rosalie Koldan in their art studio in the back of the store. 

After 15 years in business, they’ve decided to close their doors and dedicate their love of creating art fulltime. 

Both originally from Chicago, the business partners would head off camping on weekends to Woodhaven Lakes to get away from the fast paced city environment. A couple of visits to Amboy where they experienced the small town friendliness and hospitality from the residents, and the ladies knew that it was time for a change. After going out on adventures looking for treasures, the ladies did their homework and filled the basement of their little bungalow with future sales items. They retired from their jobs, sold their house, purchased the building where they live upstairs, and slowly fulfilled a vision that was five years in the making. 

“It wasn’t random collecting,” explained Guay. “We started going to auctions and garage sales looking for well made authentic quality antiques with the intentions of opening a shop and art studio here in Amboy.  We have the best of both worlds selling our antiques and displaying our artwork.”

In these tough times for businesses to stay open due to COVID, the ladies are grateful to close on their own terms. It’s never easy to say goodbye to so many of the customers that have visited over the years, shared Koldan.  

“It’s been overwhelming how we’ve been received, loved and supported from the community right from the beginning,” Koldan. “Many of our customers don’t live in the area but keep coming back and have become our friends. So, it’s kind of sad for us too.” 

One longtime customer travels from Chicago on the weekends with the sole intention of coming to the store. 

“It has been absolutely wonderful,” said Kim Haase. “It’s been a place for me to browse, chat and catch up with Shirley and Rosalie. They always have nice music playing in the background. The prices are good and I always seem to find something new. I’m bummed that they are closing but happy for them. They will be missed.”

Koldan and Guay are now concentrating on clearing out the storefront. They hope to turn it into a gallery type setting hosting private parties in the future. The store is only open on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For most of the residents you’ll still see the ladies in the neighborhood. “We hope that people will stop by to say goodbye,” said Guay. “It’s been wonderful and we thank everyone.”

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