Antiques inside history

(First published in the August 30, 2018 issue of City Pages)

Angela Lentz and Heather Brimacombe are opening a store with reclaimed antique furniture and vintage items in the historic Washington Street train depot.


Angela Lentz and Heather Brimacombe are opening Frankie and Fletcher Mercantile in the historic train depot building on Washington Street

Angela Lentz and Heather Brimacombe looked at a few locations for their business, but something about a historic train depot was too good to pass up—especially because their business deals with antiques.

Lentz and Brimacombe plan to open their store, Frankie and Fletcher Mercantile, in the old train depot at 209 Washington St., in time for the Sept. 8-9 Artrageous Weekend. The business will occupy the end of the building facing downtown Wausau. “Heather and I both agree we don’t like to see a building like this sit idle,” Lentz says.

The location was too good to pass up: the history, the gorgeous view of the Wisconsin River behind the depot, plus the match was too perfect, Lentz says—the interior was already remodeled and in pretty good shape when they arrived, Brimacombe says.

Lentz and Brimacombe got to know each other a few years ago after buying their dogs, both English Crane Golden Retrievers, from the same breeder and attending the same puppy class. They discovered they shared a love of antique hunting, and soon the two were traveling the state in search of antiques. The store is named after their dogs.

How did their love of antiquing and restoring furniture translate into starting a store? Basically their husbands got sick of all the antiques in the garage, Lentz jokes.

Many of the finished pieces in the store look beautiful and ornate. Lentz says their philosophy is to retain as much of the original character and flourish as possible. It’s not about turning the piece into something new. “All we want to do is expose it to a new generation so they can see how well made these pieces are,” Lentz says. “There is a reason they’re still around.”

Each of them has a different style and gravitates toward different pieces, Brimacombe says. Lentz favors traditional pieces and Brimacombe has an eye for the eclectic. “[Angela] is from the south, so she has that southern touch,” Brimacombe says.

Lentz will also teach classes on painting antique furniture. Frankie and Fletcher will carry Fusion paint, which is easy to use, Lentz says, and requires little prep compared to other paints. Painting antique furniture can be intimidating but the pair aim to show customers how easy it can be once you know some tips and tricks.

Besides its historical nature, the proximity of the depot building to downtown is important to Lentz and Brimacombe. They want to be part of the burgeoning scene, specifically mentioning the proposed music hall in the now-vacant Masonic Lodge, and Urban Street Bistro’s planned restaurant and brewery, both just a few blocks away. “We know a lot of the shopkeepers in the area and we are big supporters of shop local,” Lentz says.

The space isn’t quite finished yet — they’re adding a door to side of the depot facing downtown, and plan to make use of and clean up the old train platform. Check out their Facebook page for updates and photos of some of their items.