European Antiques.

Meet Anna Weidell, Antiquarian.

Anna Weidell loves history and she loves antiques, but mostly, she loves people and their stories.

“I was a history major in college, so I have an affinity for antiques and their social history and their beauty and uniqueness, especially European antiques. My family is from Northern Italy, and I have my Italian citizenship, so there is a strong bond.” After Anna graduated from college, she spent a year in Paris, France, as an au pair, and two years in Madrid teaching English. Anna shares that while she was growing up, ‘Vintage’ wasn’t as popular as it is now, and it wasn’t until she started a family that she began collecting antiques, “I fell in love with antiques over time as I started going to markets overseas. I’ve always been a history buff, and I’ve always enjoyed the stories and travel.” I can hear the passion in her voice as she continues, “When you go to places, the story becomes alive. For a while, I was really into quilting, and I would go to these Amish quilting events. For me, it became about the social history aspect of it — how women met, how they were together, what they created together, and why they created it, and then, all of a sudden, it just sort of extended out to antiques and vintage items, and it was all about the story.”

Anna’s story began in California. Born and raised there, she met her husband, Jeff, in 1985 while working for Hewlett Packard. Jeff was earning his master’s at Stanford. The couple married in 1990 and raised their children in California. Three years ago, the Weidells decided they wanted to make a change. Anna was getting ready to retire, and Jeff was working remotely as the CEO of a commercial finance company in Minnesota, so they were free to explore options of where to begin a new adventure. Anna shares, “Sometimes things are just meant to be. We had been looking in Wasatch, specifically here in Heber, because we really liked the valley. We love the four seasons, its proximity to the airport, and the beautiful nature that surrounds the area, but at that time houses came up and sold very quickly, so we were thinking maybe we just build a house.” Before they jumped into a construction project, they thought to look online — one more time. Anna explains, “[…] and then this house pops up instantaneously, and it looked exactly like my house in California (it was owned by a French woman). Jeff was like, ‘If I show this to Anna, she’s going to want it,’ and I did. We got the keys in September 2021, and I think no one was happier about this house than my three adult boys. They were thrilled! Within five days of getting the keys, my second son was out here fly fishing. They all love it here. Nature is really important to us, so living here — it’s a gift! We’ve been super happy in Heber; we love the community.”

For Anna, moving to Wasatch County has been serendipitous. She retired in 2022 and knew that she couldn’t be without something to do. That ‘something’ presented itself rather quickly and almost simultaneously. “As I met people within the community, and they discovered my love for antiques, they would always tell me there used to be an antique shop in Midway, of course, I asked the question, ‘Aren’t there any other antique shops here?’ Then, while we were getting ready to move into our new home, Jeff said, ‘You know, we don’t need to fill the house with all your treasures. Maybe we could figure out how we could work this out into something that would help us build community out here in Heber; help us meet people, and get us involved.” But that wasn’t all. Anna expounded on her experience, “Funnily enough, the woman we purchased the house from, who is now a dear friend, told me she’d been to Round Top, which is a huge antiques fair in Texas. She said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could do some sort of Pop-Up where you find a spot, fill it with treasures, and open it a few times a year? People love European antiques, and they’re not very common here in Utah.’” And, the idea for Anna’s European Antiques was born.

The Weidells found an 1100-square-foot warehouse on Airport Road and began filling it with treasures from around the globe. Anna wanted the shop to feel like a French Brocantes — flea market. “I wanted the place to have the feel of you walk in here, and there’s all these treasures that allow people to explore and dig a little bit and hopefully find something that speaks to their heart. I usually have French or Italian music playing, and I serve little truffles sometimes, and it’s kind of a unique experience, you know, you walk in and you’re somewhere else.” The business model is also unique. Although the antiques are located in a permanent shop, it is a Pop-Up experience; being open only a few times through the year or by appointment.

Anna has years of experience in marketing; however, she’s never owned a business, so she had to learn everything from the ground up. She shared how supportive people in the valley and the Chamber of Commerce have been, “The Chamber of Commerce is incredibly supportive of new business owners; they are just very open and helpful. I attended, and still attend, their lunches where I meet people who are so kind and willing to give me ideas on how to use social media and teach me about the pitfalls of starting a business, and so many other things. This valley is quite entrepreneurial, and it’s just been so great. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without their help.”

Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Anna’s European Antiques had their ribbon cutting in June 2023, opening their doors 16 times between June and December. Anna took time off in the fall and winter to visit England, Italy, France, and Spain in search of antiques and treasures to fill the tables and shelves of her shop. Most everything she brings in is from Europe, but there are a few things she sources from people, she’s known for years, in California. “I always like to have the vintage or antique ceramic crocs (technically, they are pickle jars); people seem to really like those. I don’t have mass-produced things; the majority are one-of-a-kind finds — not replicas. I always tell people if you see something you like — just like in a market — you should buy it because it probably won’t be here when you come back, and that’s happened on more than one occasion.”

Hand-picking each item is a joy for Anna; getting them back home — not so much — going through customs and shipping presents its own challenges. She explains, “Recently, I brought over several of these British lawn bowling balls made of durable wood called lignum vitae. They’re beautiful but they’re dense, and the airport X-ray machine can’t scan them.” Anna laughs as she continues, “The balls look like cannonballs, […] and they [customs] ended up having to open all of my boxes. And a couple of items went out of my box and never went back into my box. That was a little disheartening, but, as in all things, if you keep doing it, you get better at it, and more comfortable with it.”

Anna says it’s all worth it — she loves bringing the items back and watching others discover them in her shop. The best part for Anna is the stories that are shared by those who visit. One of her favorites took place this April, “I went to Italy to visit my family and decided to go to a market in Milan, and, while there, I discovered this beautiful hand-carved breadboard. Sometimes, you see them with French words, but this one was in Italian. It was the Lord’s Prayer. So, I carried this board from Italy to Spain to France to Heber. When I got it out of my suitcase, I thought, I’m never going to find another one of these, but I also thought, you know what, I’m going to put this out, and if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, and if it’s not — it’ll walk out the doors in someone else’s arms.” She continues, excited to share the rest of the story, “I see a couple looking at the board for a while, so I walked over to them because sometimes I think it’s fun to tell the story of how I get items. I told them about the board, and they looked at me and told me that their daughter was serving her mission in Rome, and they had spent some time in Rome when their son served his mission in France, so they were very connected to Italy. That board meant something to them. The husband looked at his wife, and it was very sweet, he said, ‘I’m going to get that for you for Mother’s Day.’ His wife responded with, ‘I’m going to cherish it.’ That little breadboard is going to sit in that couple’s home as a reminder of their daughter’s mission and their time in Italy with their son. Experiences like this happen a lot in the shop; they fill my heart with joy. Sometimes people spend like two hours in the shop going up and down everything because there’s a lot in there, and that makes me happy. Even if they don’t buy anything, it makes me feel good to know that they enjoyed their time here looking at all the treasures.”

Anna understands the best treasures are the people she meets and their stories. She sums the reason for her antiques shop up perfectly, “Somebody at the Chamber of Commerce asked me why antiques; I told them, with antiques you don’t really know the story before you get them, but you know that there’s been a story, and you become part of that story, and then that story moves on to a new story. Some things I have, I just touch, and I think who else touched this, how did they use it, and what family had this in their home. It’s just something emotional, it’s a moving on and a traversing of history that I think is just very important.”

Anna’s European Antiques is a bit off the beaten path, but like all treasure, it’s worth searching for. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover something that speaks to you or better yet, a new friend.

 

For hours or to request a shopping appointment: [email protected]
or @annaseuropeanantiques.
483 W Airport Road, Heber

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