Photography by Gabriel Cano

Top Drawer Antiques & Mid Mod Shop specializes in mid-century modern furniture and decor, which are common accents for Lake Highlands homes of the same style.

The family-owned business used its two-month closure to redecorate and rearrange the shop to offer customers a new experience when doors opened again, says co-owner Jerimy Spencer.

But they did this with the lights off to save money as the business had no income for nearly two months.

Spencer feared for the future of the business. Top Drawer Antiques & Mid Mod Shop provides for two households, he says, and it is the only income he and his wife have.

Adding to the financial burden, some of the antique mall’s vendors endured their own personal setbacks and could no longer afford to help with rent.

“Some of them had been literally here since we opened, so that was like losing family members almost,” he says.

Spencer he looked into assistance for small businesses and for his family.

“I tried to apply for food stamps, not knowing what’s going to happen,” he says. “I wanted to have every bit of cash money that I had.”

But they didn’t get help from either.

“That kind of stung a little bit,” Spencer says. “But obviously we also know that there’s people worse off than us, so we just kind of took it to the chin and rolled with it.”

The antique mall held two online auctions in the summer. Once the business reopened, Spencer says they found success through offering personal shopping appointments, which is still available for customers not comfortable with a crowd.

Foot traffic started to pick up and almost felt like it was back to normal, he says.

But once school returned, more customers retreated back home for virtual learning.

Spencer and his wife had to reduce store hours to help their 8-year-old daughter with virtual schooling.

With the support of the neighborhood, Spencer says the antique mall is back to holding auctions once a month.

“At the end of the day, we’re still here,” he says. “We’re healthy, we’re happy, we’re fed. As hard as it’s been, we’re blessed.”

Even as the pandemic persists, Spencer says he is optimistic about the future.

“We’re glad we were able to make it,” Spencer said. “We know it’s not over yet. We’re still struggling, but I think if we’ve made it this far, there’s nothing we can’t do if we fight for it.”