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Remember When antiques store closing as 1st Street building to be renovated

Michael Whitney photo

Remember When Antiques Mall owner Lori Powell Warren in her shop Thursday, Jan. 25.

SNOHOMISH — Remember When Antiques Mall, one of Snohomish’s five oldest antique shops, is closing in the coming weeks due to circumstances beyond its control.
The building it’s in sold last year, and the shop’s lease wasn’t renewed. The store went public with the news it will close with window signs in mid-January.
A stream of customers and the community of vintage dealers have been giving heartfelt thank yous to owner Lori Powell Warren.
908 First St. will get a full rehabilitation, Chelsea Surdi said for her vision. The Union Block building was built in 1911.
“I hope to strip it down and bring it back,” she said. Old carpet will be taken out to re-expose the hardwood floors, and the interior will be pared down to remove later additions.
A holding company of her husband Ben Surdi, the CEO of Snohomish-based PureClean and PureDry Restoration, bought the building.
In October, Warren learned her ground floor lease wouldn’t be renewed. On the second floor, residents in six apartments are having their tenancy end. Surdi said that is to prepare for the construction work. Most have already moved out, Surdi said last week.
“We would have loved to stay three or five more years,” Warren said.
Warren, who just welcomed a granddaughter, said last month she isn’t ready to retire. If she can, she’d open elsewhere in Snohomish. She was still actively looking as of Feb. 1. She anticipates Remember When’s dealers will migrate to other malls.
The mall’s 32 individual dealers have assortments of everything from the 1890s to the 1990s: Vintage art, fishing reels, glassware, books, puzzles and toys.
“I think it’s just a nice, happy place” where they know their customers, Warren said.
The music system pipes in 1940s hits from Billie Holiday and her contemporaries to set the mood.
It’s also a community. Some dealers have sold in the antique mall as far back as when it opened, Warren said.
Now, sellers are bringing forward an influx of their stored inventory to sell in the shop before the mall closes. Most everything is discounted.
Customers have been saddened.
“We’re supposed to be the Antiques Capital of the Pacific Northwest,” lifetime Snohomian Carol Vogel said. Antiques have been part of Snohomish’s charm and draw.
Antique stores give a small-town feel, Warren said.
The change wasn’t to hurt anyone, Surdi said.
Sitting midblock at 908 First St., it once was split into three storefronts. One was the downtown J.C. Penney. Over time, these merged and passageways were cut inside to become a single 1,500-square-foot ground floor space.
The Union Block building was owned by the same family for 60 years, Warren said.
Surdi did not have a clear timeline for when the building renovation will be complete, but said once it’s renovated, “I’m very certain” she would re-rent to an antique shop. She is an antique shopper and one-time antiques dealer.
The upstairs would continue to be apartments, she said.
The business model of antique malls is to be in a space at a reasonable rent price.
Each dealer is a small business owner, Warren explained. The mall oversees sales and gets a commission.
Warren’s been both. She began as a dealer at Remember When and took over when its then-owner Molly Lenaburg offered the store to her about 20 years ago. Warren started collecting antiques in 1988.
Snohomish still has a handful of antique shops, but there are fewer than in its heyday.
Pegasus Shops and Past Gas went out before COVID. TroyBeck Antiques’ owners retired around 2022 after a 20-year run.
Others have come in, including Red Rooster one door down from Remember When. The five-floor Star Center Mall, one of the oldest shops, may still be Snohomish’s largest.
The town needs antique shops, Warren said. It gives a variety of choices of “things that are time-tested.”
Nostalgia gives people joy, Warren said. She’ll be pleased if each goes to a good home.
Remember When will be open until as late as the end of March.



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