Memorial Day Weekend saw the grand opening of a new business enterprise in Marengo. Bulldog Antiques is located in the house on the corner of Adams and State Streets that at one time was owned by Margaret Echternach, or “Aunt Margaret” as the locals knew her. Back in the day, Aunt Margaret held lavish dinner parties, homey gatherings, and even a Bible Study group. Stars from Shady Lane Dinner Theater were often her guests for dinner and even as live-in guests for the duration of a play. Old timers who drop in at Bulldog Antiques now, love to reminisce; some even claim they can feel her presence.
It wouldn’t surprise Bulldog Antique owners Chuck Follett, of Marengo, and Don Rose, of Crystal Lake. These business partners have been co-workers and friends for 25 years. It had long been Follett’s dream to open a business in Marengo that might help draw visitors to the town. He was never in the antique business, but he and his wife have collected pieces for their home for many years. When he invited Rose to partner with him, he knew his friend has an interest in history (He is on the Board of the McHenry County Historical Society), and also has expertise in working with computers and managing websites.
They’ve set up the shop as a furnished country home with beautiful antiques displayed as they would have been when they were everyday household items. If you are used to cluttered, dusty antique shops, Bulldog Antiques will surprise you. Follett and Rose offer a classy, comfortable atmosphere in a building that needed very little done to it after Follett bought it in December, 2015. The most evident improvement are the wooden railings installed for the front entrance, after comments from several customers. “We listen to our customers,” Follett declared.
They started with pieces from their own collections and began going to estate sales and flea markets searching for just the right pieces to display in the old house. By May, 2016 they were ready to open. The house is furnished with pieces from the 1940’s and earlier. “We’re eclectic,” smiles Follett, “If we like a piece and it fits our country, early 20th Century theme, we buy it for the shop.” They also take pieces to sell on consignment. “Right now, I’d estimate that 90% of our merchandise we bought ourselves, and 10% is on consignment,” Follett remarked.
Customers are enthusiastic about how unique and interesting the antiques are. Follett and Rose hope that through their website (www.bulldogantiques.net), advertising, and word of mouth, Bulldog Antiques will be an attraction that can “help make Marengo a destination instead of just a town to drive through.” Their hours are Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Stop in to shop or just look around.
Above all, these two friends and business partners are enjoying this retirement enterprise. “Let’s face it,” smiled Rose, “we’re just plain having fun.”