Jan's is quite literally tucked away in the heart of Fulton Market. The building is as equally non-descript as its industrial-type surroundings. She's been there a very long time but as the West Loop area continues to grow, now you'd have to know her to find her.
I had to be buzzed in, and upon entering her 18,000SF showroom my eyes nearly popped out of my head. Chairs are hanging from the ceiling and the aisles leave just about enough room for a person and a half to walk through...
According to Jan, most of her wares come from building demolitions and aside from the shell, one could furnish a condo or home with what Jan has going on in that place!
Everything is arranged according to type, which is impressive. Doors, windows, tiles, sinks, doorknobs, hinges, my goodness there is so much. She also has furniture, mirrors, lots of framed art and my favorite: near the china & silver there are a couple of boxes of old photographs. I love looking at these, trying to surmise anything I can about the photographer and the picture.
The goods are not cheap, so bring a credit card. I bought a small tap handle still attached to part of the pipe for $12. It's such a cute little piece. However, she wanted $14 each for two pieces of painted wood I wanted to use as bookends. Wasn't in the mood to shell out an additional $28. I will say this - anything purchased is absolutely worth it.
She does everything the long way - hand-written receipts, credit card machine. I imagine it's much easier that way when you're surrounded by eleventy billion items for sale.
Jan's Antiques is located at 225 N Racine in Chicago. She can be reached at (312) 563-0275. Hours are W-F 2-7p; S&S 2-6pm. Closed Monday & Tuesday. http://www.jansantiques.net
If for nothing else, go for the experience. It is an unbelievable thing to behold. I would love to hear from anyone who has been to Jan's or is going!