By Tara L. Cale
In November of 1994, Nick and Bobby Britz opened Nickorbobs Home, Gifts, Antiques & Boutiques, just off Interstate 55 at the Auburn/Pawnee Exit #82. The business concept used by the brothers was the same as their late father, Bob Britz, used in building four other businesses. That first business was an antique mall adjacent to Nickorbobs, now named Hilda’s Antique Mall, and now also owned by the brothers. Soon after, a second antique mall was constructed at the same exit, now named, Tammi’s Treasures, Antiques & More. The third mall was built at the Carlinville Exit #60.  It is now known as  Nana’s Attic. Britz returned to his original location for the fourth mall, which now houses Rusty Star Marketplace. He did all of this with the confidence that the locations, and amount of traffic from I-55 and intersecting IL. Route 104, as well as Route 66, would be a great draw. He was not mistaken. Today, nearly 30 years later, all buildings are still open and operating – two of them by his own sons, Nick & Bobby. Britz was a structural steel painting contractor for over 58 years, owner of, Robert W. Britz Painting Co. Inc. Both sons remain in the painting industry. Bobby with the structural steel painting, and Nick in the interior painting. They also operate Britz Sales, Britz Auction Co., and Britz Painting, as well as running their mall businesses,  Hilda’s Antique Mall and Nickorbobs Home • Gifts • Antiques • Boutiques. Nickorbobs is celebrating its 27th year in business this November. Originally the store was named Nickorbobs Home Decor & Crafts, but over the years the brothers have added gift items, antiques, and several individual boutiques for both children, adults…even a doggie boutique!  The 16,000 sq. ft.  mall is host to 89 shops, with over 45 contributing dealers. Some of the popular items you will find at Nickorbobs include Park Designs (window treatments, towels, shower curtains, rugs, runners, etc), Barb’s Jams & Jellies, Thomspons’s Crumbles, Hearthside Collectibles, RADA Knife Ware, Americal Girl Dolls, and clothes, jewelry, kitchen gadgets, florals, greeting cards,  farmhouse paints, willow furniture, garden flags, boutique clothing, candles, candles, and more candles… the list goes on. Looking for a special gift for someone’s birthday, wedding, retirement, or “just because”?  They have that too.   The best part of Nickorbobs is a fun and friendly atmosphere.   Nick and Bobby both said, “We could not do this without our vendors.  They are all part of our family we love.  Come home to Nickorbobs!” Now, throw into the equation, that Hilda’s Antique Mall is just a rock’s throw away –   literally across the parking lot – and you are truly in shopping paradise!  The mall offers over 20,000 square feet of shopping bliss. Nick and Bobby took over the antique mall in 2018 and named it after their mother, Hilda Britz.  The next order of business was updating the mall with new carpet, tile, paint, lights, doors, windows, and other improvements.  Most of the prior vendors remained. Hilda’s is a very nice antique mall, and the treasures within are amazing.  Even if you are not “into” that type of item to purchase, take time to browse Hilda’s Antique Mall anyway.  It’s a very interesting and educational walk through the past, to say the least.  I saw so many things that brought back fond memories.  Various home decor items I remember my grandparents had.  A certain piece of furniture (a vintage step stool/chair – the steps flipped out from under the seat of the chair when needed), also a familiar, and much-loved piece from one of my grandparents’ homes.  But my favorite item was a 1917 Disco Ball, the Myriad Reflector, from the Moonlight Garden, a former roller skating rink in Springfield.  It is displayed with period props in a glass case for all to see, but it is also for sale. Other popular items at Hilda’s include various collectibles – and there are some HUGE collections – Snowbabies, Precious Moments, Dreamsicles, Star Wars, Matchbox, and more. The number of old signs and glassware is unbelievable too.  They have vintage linens, toys, postcards, comic books, bottles, stoneware, holiday items, furniture and so much more. And just like Nickorbobs, everything is beautifully displayed in a clean, welcoming environment. As if you need another reason to visit Nickorbobs or Hildas, I’m going to give you one anyway.  Both malls will be holding their annual Christmas Open House and Candlelight Walk this month.
The Candlelight Walk will be held on Friday, November 13 from   5-9 pm (the malls are open their normal hours that day, 10-6, but the Candlelight Walk is only from 5-9 pm).  On Saturday and Sunday, Nov 14-15, the malls will host their Christmas Open House.  During this time you can enter to win a $50 gift certificate, and everything in both malls, even sale items, will be 10% off.   Let’s put a little more icing on the cake.   If you can’t make it to Nickorbobs or Hilda’s the weekend of Nov 14-15, they will host an Extended Christmas Sale, offering 10% off everything in both malls, again, on Saturday and Sunday, November 21-22. Now let’s make that icing thicker – in addition to Hilda’s and Nickorbobs, there are also two other malls at this very same exit – Rusty Start Marketplace and Tammi’s Treasures, Antiques & More – so make sure you have plenty of time to shop, explore, discover and enjoy! As mentioned, Nickorbobs Home • Gifts • Antiques • Boutiques and Hilda’s Antique Mall are easy to find and easy to get to.  They are located at 14260 and 14266 Frazee Road in Divernon – the Auburn/Pawnee Exit #82 off Interstate 55.  Turn at the gas station and follow the curve and they will be on your right.  The large parking lot has plenty of room, even for recreational vehicles,    large trucks, trailers, etc.  Both malls are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for your shopping pleasure and convenience. Both Hilda’s and Nickorbobs have Facebook pages or check out for more information. Nick and Bobby asked me to tell you “Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, from our family, to yours!”