This week I had the pleasure of visiting Wilma’s Linens & Lace Antiques in Frankfort, KY. Wilma Hedden, the store’s owner, opened the shop 21 years ago after urging and encouragement from her husband, Marshall. After opening the shop at its original location across the street, the location was moved to its current address at 202 West Broadway street in historic downtown Frankfort where it has remained for a number of years.
On the day I visited, Wilma received several visitors into the store bearing congratulations for articles in two local papers featuring her antiques business. Apparently, Ms. Hedden should be used to that kind of attention by now. She has three plaques for local business awards displayed in her shop, and her linens and antiques business has been written about in the New York Times and Southern Living Magazine among other publications.
So, why all the attention you may ask?
Wilma’s Linens & Lace Antiques is a truly unique shop. It turns out that Wilma is an expert seamstress. She carries an inventory of fabrics and quilt supplies in her shop (of which many patterns cannot be found in the larger retail stores), and is often kept busy with projects for the local citizenry and civic groups (On the day I visited, a local church had cleaned out her inventory of all but one 19th century-styled lady’s “sunbonnet”). In addition, the shop features an ample selection of high-quality vintage and antique linens, each one cleaned and neatly pressed by hand (my mother would be in ecstasy), and lovely, handmade antique quilts in excellent condition.
But that’s not all. Besides her wonderful collection of fabrics, linens and sewing ephimera, Wilma’s shop also boasts an excellent selection of antique glassware, crystal, china and pottery. Flow Blue china, vintage art glass, Steubenware, Roseville (and not just the more commonly-found pieces), Weller, Rookwood, vintage Fiesta, North Star, carnival glass, and Dragonware just to name a few, are everywhere you turn. (And not one piece among what must be literally hundreds of pieces, did I witness the first spec of dust or dirt.) Vases large and small, candle holders, plates, salts, cups, bowls, platters, you name it, they are all there in dazzling colors, textures and designs.
But what is especially pleasing about antiques shopping at Wilma’s Linens & Lace Antiques is that her inventory includes such a large selection of exclusive, different and uncommon pieces than what you might see elsewhere; evidence of an astute buyer and collector.
Even though Wilma doesn’t use paid advertising to promote her business, she has customers not only throughout the local community in Frankfort, but from states as far away as California, and even overseas. Some plan special trips, and others, recurrent trips to Frankfort, specifically to shop for specialty items in Wilma’s store. As customers enter her shop, they receive a personal and cheerful welcome, and are greeted with warmth, kindness and conversational interest.
Wilma’s Linens & Lace Antiques is conveniently located on one of Frankfort’s “main drags” downtown, less than a block away from the Kentucky Historical Society’s home at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. They’re open 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM. In addition, there’s a great luncheon restaurant right next door, and several others within easy walking distance. So why not make a day of it; visit Wilma’s, have lunch and then tour Kentucky’s premier museum facility. Sounds like a great day to me! Enjoy!
Wilma’s Linens & Lace Antiques
202 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601