Brothers, cousin buy Springfield antique center marking 25 years

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A Springfield antique center marking a quarter of a century in business has been bought by three local family members.

The Heart of Ohio Antique Center, 4785 E. National Road in Springfield, was purchased by brothers Jacob and Josh Berner and cousin Mike Berner.

“Our goal is to continue on with the antique center,” Jacob said. “(It’s a) world-renowned antique center. Folks from all over the word fly here, come here, drive here because of the size of the antiques sold here. Our goal is to just make it better — better service, better customer service — and continue to have high-quality antiques.”

The center, which is celebrating its 25th year this month, was purchased from Vivalyn Knight, who had owned it with her husband Bruce, who passed away a couple years ago. Jacob Berner said he and his wife are friends with the Knights and would travel the world with them, buying antiques.

He said Vivalyn Knight approached them about buying the antique center.

“She wanted us to keep their legacy, and we want to carry forward with what they built and continue to make it better,” he said. “We want to continue to honor what Bruce and Vivalyn have built and continue to carry it on for another 25 years.”

The center, which has nine buildings and “close to a million items on display,” has around 670 individual antique dealers that display their merchandise. Jacob Berner said if you buy from there, you’re supporting the local economy.

Josh and Jacob Berner grew up in the business as their father had an auction business for many years. Josh said he joined the auction business before going into law enforcement for 20 years, later coming back to antiquing with Jacob.

“This opportunity came up and this was just meant to be,” he said.

“It’s a local treasure. The first time people come in, they’re blown away. A lot of locals have been by here, driven by, they come in and become regulars and it’s such a great atmosphere,” Josh Berner said.

Jacob Berner has also owned Berner’s Auction Galley since 1997, which opened inside the center in 1998. He moved his business online in about 2017, and sells about 800 to 900 items each week.

The three family members are equal owners in the business, which they are excited about.

“Our other partner Mike, he’s pretty influential in both our lives, and we look up to him a lot,” Jacob Berner said. “We are very excited to be in a partnership with the three of us together.”

Josh Berner posted about the purchase on Facebook to share the exciting news.

“I have been fortunate enough to become partners with my brother Jacob Berner and cousin Mike Berner in the purchase of The Heart of Ohio Antique Center!,” he said in the post. “For those of you that have not visited the Heart before, you have got to come check it out! I may be a little biased, but I think it’s the best antiquing destination in the country. I am constantly amazed by the quality and quantity of absolutely great items that are available.”

The family also owns Mo-Jo’s Café, which is inside the center’s commons area and offers lunch specials such as soups, salads and sandwiches.

The center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., except on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The café hours are the same, except opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. on weekends.

For more information, visit the business on Facebook.

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