‘Because we love the old stuff’

OTHO?- Otho residents Jimmy and Jutta Beekman have long had a love for antiques and other items that are reminiscent of earlier eras. In January, they turned that passion into a business venture with the launch of JB’s Antiques & Variety Place.

“We did this because we love the old stuff,” Jutta Beekman said. “To save and preserve old things.”

Jimmy Beekman has owned and operated Executive Auto Sales, 218 Railroad St. in Otho, since 1989. He repairs and sells salvage vehicles.

About a year ago, he began constructing a new building at 232 Main St. in Otho, which he said was initially intended to house that automobile business and an antique shop he and his wife would operate jointly.

By the time the 32-by-72 foot building was ready for occupancy, however, the game plan for its use had changed. The spacious modern structure is now devoted entirely to JB’s Antiques & Variety Place.

Jutta Beekman said that even though about 60 percent of the merchandise at the store is antiques, it offers a diverse selection that includes “lamps, furniture, toys, purses, dishes, glassware, vases, flowers, military items, light-up beer signs, dishes, old postcards, vintage bottles, signs, shoes, books, magazines, oak stands, jelly cabinets, etc. plus new stuff.” And that list is just a sampling of what a visitor to the business might find.

The store also features a limited amount of consignment items and houses some vendor stalls available for rent.

“Originally, we were going to these sales … for antiques and we started thinking that we could open a store,” Jutta Beekman said, reflecting on how she and her husband decided to turn what started out as a hobby into a business. “We started with antiques, but now we’re everything. We have new stuff, used stuff, antique stuff, old stuff. We have books. We have furniture. We have kitchen things.”

The vast selection at JB’s Antiques & Variety Place is constantly changing and includes items that will appeal to people with widely varied interests. People seeking unique treasures are likely to find the Beekmans’ shop a place warranting frequent repeat visits.

For anyone fascinated with how life in America was lived nearly a century ago, a display currently under construction will be especially appealing. A fully operational 1920’s kitchen is being built by Jimmy Beekman with careful attention to getting every detail exactly right.

“That’s taken him awhile to try to get everything authentic,” Jutta Beekman said. “It’s a display but it is all going to work.”

She said once the vintage kitchen is completed it may be a location where refreshments can be served to folks who stop by the store.

In addition to the historically accurate early 20th-century kitchen, Jimmy Beekman said he hopes to enhance the store by building a porch area and possibly adding a workroom where items can be readied for sale.

Both Beekmans said they are enjoying their new business venture immensely.

“We meet wonderful people and they talk about the olden days and their and grandma and grandpa. I just love that kind of stuff,” Jutta Beekman said. “The saddest thing is we go to estate sales and they saved things for so long and they died and now it doesn’t mean anything to anybody. But it means something to me.”

For her husband, discovering treasures to offer for sale is especially rewarding.

“I like the hunt,” he said. “Getting the stuff. Buying the stuff.”

Meet the owners

Jimmy and Jutta Beekman are both 1974 graduates of Fort Dodge Senior High. They each have busy professional lives in addition to operating JB’s Antiques & Variety Place.

“We both still work elsewhere,” Jutta Beekman said. “I’m a registered nurse at Villa Care Center. … He works 50 hours a week on his car business.

Consequently, the new store is only open two days a week – Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Additionally, appointments on Sundays are sometimes possible.

Both Beekmans said they view the new enterprise as a venture that will increasingly consume more of their time.

“We’re getting to the point where we both can do early retirement,” Jimmy Beekman said. “This is one thing that we like doing together.”

His wife seconded that point and said that will allow the store to be open more days eventually.

“I’d like to get to the point where I could be open at least five days a week,” she said.