Mike and Coleen Detzel have turned a dream of owning a small antique shop into a big reality—50,000 square feet to be exact.

The Detzels opened the Florence Antique Mall 21 years ago after Coleen, who loves antiques and collectibles, expressed an interest to run her own shop. Mike, who had a corporate career, used his background to calculate that a little shop didn’t make business sense, but a big one could be profitable.

The Detzels now have about 250 independent dealers who have set up their own shops inside the antique mall offering antiques, collectibles, furniture, art and jewelry, says Mike. “All kinds of unique and interesting items,” he says.

The majority of what gets sold is furniture, says Mike. Other top selling categories include sports collectibles, jewelry and home décor, he says.

Because so many vendors rent space at the Florence Antique Mall the number and variety of items constantly changes, he says. “We have just thousands of different kinds of items and it changes all the time.”

One of the popular furniture and home décor styles right now with shoppers seems to be mid-century modern, Mike says. Mid-century modern is a design style that was used in architecture, furniture and graphic design during the middle of the 20th century, approximately between 1933 and 1965, and particularly during the 1950s.

Younger shoppers are really interested in those kinds of items, he says. “Turns out that what we offer is excellent for people getting their very first apartment or perhaps moving into a dorm room,” Mike says. “They’re looking for practical furnishings that are affordable but they’re also looking for really cool items.”

Shoppers like the idea of reusing and refurbishing items, some which may have been stored in someone’s attic for 30 or 40 years, he says. “And now they get it and they’re like, ‘Oh, this is wonderful. It reminds me of my childhood or it reminds me of my grandparents or whatever it might be,’” Mike says.

That large and varied inventory makes shopping at the Florence Antique Mall more like a treasure hunt. “That’s the beauty of a place like this,” he says. “It’s really built for browsing and a lot of times people find something they didn’t know they were looking for.”

Many times shoppers will come in and say they’re looking for a unique gift for a loved one and staff members will try to get a quick sense of the types of things that person likes and then steer the buyer toward the appropriate vendor booths.

But it never hurts for shoppers to browse the items at other booths because that’s when a treasure may be uncovered. “It’s the classic ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ thing,” Mike says. “And I’ll tell you, we’ve sent a lot of people out of here with big smiles on their faces.”