Antiquing isn’t a hobby; it’s a game: The planning, the strategizing, and, eventually, the gamble. A piece might be there one day, and gone the next; it’s all part of the thrill of the chase.
“The hunt is the best part,” says Jen Cross, with a smile.
Cross would know. She is the proud of owner of Continuity, an antique shop located in downtown Muskegon, which opened in June 2010. The idea stemmed from what Cross saw in pop culture. TV shows like “American Pickers” and “Antique Roadshow” opened her eyes to the public’s growing interest in antiques.
“I love giving things a new life, a new home,” she says.
Continuity is certainly not the stereotypical, stuffy antique shop. Natural light streams in from huge storefront windows and dances off trays of sparkling vintage jewelry. Each section of the wall is painted a different pastel color—green, purple, blue—and slinky scarves drape over backs of chairs. The store smells of musty books and raw wood, like a combination of your favorite library and your grandfather’s workshop.
Cross’s grandfather played a significant role in the opening of Continuity. Many of the smaller pieces of furniture and glassware items came from the barn her family uses to store their vast collection.
“My family is always more than willing to let me take pieces out of the barn,” she laughs.
Cross is a Muskegon native, who studied Business and Communications at WMU. After teaching English in Japan, she began working at the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce; there, she harnessed her love for Muskegon and began participating in community organizations. Cross is a Board Member for Parties in the Park, and an active member of Love Muskegon. She also recently participated in an event called Dancing with the Local Stars, a fundraiser for Muskegon food pantries.
Her passion for downtown Muskegon is what influenced her to open Continuity in its current location.
“You see every type of economic and social class, age, and race [here],” Cross says.” It’s a very eclectic group.”
The variety of people she sees also plays into the way she runs Continuity. Cross tries to keep her prices very affordable–repairing and refurbishing most of the pieces herself.
“I want things to go out the door,” she says. “I want people to feel that they can put them in their everyday life.”
Not only does Cross accept drop-offs from the public, she also restocks her store by sifting through flea markets and estate sales. She often uses some of the pieces she has, on hand, to create new items. Most of her inspiration comes from the site, Pinterest.
“There are always ideas in the works. I have a million of them,” she exclaims.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, at first glance, Cross has you covered. She maintains a customer wishbook, where visitors can detail exactly the type of piece they’re searching for. Cross will then go out and look for it–or something similar–and let you know when it’s in.
It’s Cross’s attention to detail and customer care that makes Continuity so special. Stop in and take a look around–you’ll be the winner, no matter what you pick up.