Zandbroz Variety expands vintage, antique section with renovation

Nov. 1, 2019

From an iconic image at Bob’s Cafe to a replica circus and vintage pinball machines, there’s now even more to explore at Zandbroz Variety in downtown Sioux Falls.

It’s thanks to a restoration project that began with repairing water damage but led to expanded space in the basement and former back room that the Phillips Avenue business is now using for merchandise.

“We tore everything out,” owner Jeff Danz said.

“And our structural engineer had been trained as an architect, and he had this great idea to raise the basement floor 5 feet, which helped structurally but also made it a nice midlevel for the back room, so we gained a lot of nice space back there.”

The new space has been filled with a fun, colorful assortment of items that Danz has sourced in recent months and years.

A focal point is “Ima,” which was part of the former Bob’s Cafe sign. Owner Bob Lyons put up the sign in honor of his wife, Ima, after buying the restaurant in 1951.

“It took six of us to bring it in the door and lay it flat, and it was all steel inside, so we took that out, and we built a new frame for it,” Danz said.

There also are display cases filled with items from a replica circus that Danz bought from someone in Massachusetts. He’d like to find more pieces to complete the set. It takes the place of another circus he set up in the windows of Zandbroz and later sold.

“I’ve always been captivated by them,” said Danz, who first saw a similar circus set up when he was growing up in North Dakota.

And then there are vintage pinball machines, a retro kids’ amusement boat ride and other games.

Another case displays a collection of vintage model cars he sourced through a local flea market.

The space leads to part of the basement, which has been restored and now includes a conference room he plans to use for meetings and book clubs.

There’s also room down there for additional displays, including these vintage postcards.

The existing Zandbroz antique and vintage section in the back of the store gained more space during the project, too, as well as some additional merchandise.

This bird diorama came from Iowa and took Danz a year to buy.

“We ended up trading things, so I sent him (the former owner) pictures of things for six months until I found the right combination of things,” he said. “The biggest reason (I wanted it) was because it was sitting in a back room disheveled, and I wanted to save it. I wanted to fix it, and I just thought it was really cool.”

While that doesn’t have a sale price attached, most items do.

There’s everything from vintage pharmacy glass to an antique dentist’s chair.

One of his new acquisitions is this statue of the Greek god Prometheus.

The store celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and Danz said he’s constantly evolving the product mix – both new and vintage merchandise.

He sources the latter in a variety of ways, from garage sales to auctions but finds he has the most success by knocking on doors and talking to people.

“I enjoy cleaning these things up and fixing them,” Danz said. “I buy what I like, and if it doesn’t sell, it’s part of my collection.”

Zandbroz Variety expands vintage, antique section with renovation

From an iconic image at Bob’s Cafe to a replica circus and vintage pinball machines, there’s now even more to explore at Zandbroz Variety in downtown Sioux Falls.

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