Diane Dryden: Move The Road, Lose The Town

You would think that meant that the handwriting would be on the wall making Trego another town that used to be there. But you just might be wrong.

Diane Dryden: Move The Road, Lose The Town

Trego, Wisconsin, has never been what you would call a bustling area. Though its long 140-year history, businesses have come and gone in this town currently with 926 residents. To make matters worse, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is presently by-passing the main intersection of Trego with their spiffy new road plan. You would think that meant that the handwriting would be on the wall making Trego another town that used to be there. It will eventually become just like the myriad of old West towns abandoned when the railroad skirted around them.

But you just might be wrong.

Mardi and Tom Neefe might have something to say about the future of this little berg six miles north of Spooner. He comes from forty-plus years of retail management experience, and she's a tiny ball of energy who's a farm girl at heart raising the last two of their four children who are still at home.

It's easy to tell that they are each other's best friends and happily share the same passion, antiques. They've been collecting for years. And years.

Tom used to vacation and hunted nearby since childhood, and when it came time for retirement, Trego was an easy choice for both of them. They both loved the area.

The Neffe's moved up three years ago from Ripon, Wisconsin, home of Ripon Good Cookies, a town of maybe 8,000. They bought a building on the 53/63 frontage road so they could store their "treasures." Two years ago, they opened their personal space to the public, gave the business a name, Antique Adventures, and never looked back.

For many businesses, this could have been the pinnacle of their existence. Not the Neefe's.When the general store went up for sale across the road, they bought it as storage for more of their stuff. Soon people were stopping by and buying things out of both buildings.

A guy came around asking if they wanted to carry Old Hickory Buildings, and they said sure. They're set up so you can see how they look and dream about how you would use yours.

Mardi and Tom were so impressed with the buildings that they bought a few for themselves, and these they lease to vendors as pop-up shops. When the Flea Market and Village opens up every other Saturday, some vendors just open the door on their 'storage shed' and invite people in to see their products.

That's right, a flea market. And what a time it is. After browsing through the original Antique Adventure building, along with its backyard full of possibilities which leads to two more storage sheds loaded with treasures, across the road is their second building, three times as large. Out of the back door of this second building on certain Saturdays, there are thirty vendors selling everything you can imagine. This market area faces a busy highway, and it's better than signage. Travelers stop just to see what's going on.

By the way, if you have a food truck, they're looking for you. So far, that's the only thing they're lacking; food and coffee.

Mardi and Tom love antiques. According to Mardi, it's a way to touch history. When you hold a tool, or a gas can, or a meat grinder in your hand, it's like reliving the lives of everyone else who used the tool to produce a product.

Their items are reasonably priced, and even then, they love to barter. It's not unusual to see fellow dealers picking out items for their own shops. As busy as they are in Trego, they still have treasures to see in Original's Mall of Antiques located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

They buy, sell and trade. They're open Tuesday through Saturday from 10a to 5p year- around. If you'd like to call, it's 920-229-0322 or by email, antiqueadventures1@yahoo.com. The next time you're online, look them up on Face Book-Antique Adventures.

Whether you're into antiques or not, it's a fun place to visit anytime to take a walk down memory lane. Every first and third Saturday of the month, you can share the excitement of the flea market. You never know what you'll come home with either. There's a backbone in the second "warehouse" building that could win the prize easily in a scavenger hunt. Or reduce the number of visitors you have.

When the Neffe family were still on their hobby farm in Ripon, they decided to raise a few calves. They figured that six would be their limit. They ended up with four hundred, so you know this is not as big as this venture will get. If they keep up their current progress, they will put Trego on the map. Finally.

Last Update: Jun 27, 2021 12:02 pm CDT

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