Brown’s on Fifth celebrates 70 years in Zionsville

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Kathy and David Brown in front of their store on Fifth Street. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

Kathy and David Brown in front of their store on Fifth Street. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

By Mark Ambrogi

David Brown grew up in the house next door to his parents’ antique business. He has never strayed far.

“I’m passionate about retail and mom and pop shops as I call them,” said Brown, whose Zionsville store will celebrate its 70th anniversary on Halloween. “I like working with people every day.”

In recent years, Brown, 64, has rebranded the store, which has three buildings, as Brown’s on Fifth. The shop is at 315 N. Fifth St. in a residential area.

“Business is challenging as always,” he said. “We’re Zionsville’s oldest business. We’ve outlasted everybody on Main Street. You never have enough customers but somehow people have found us.”

His parents, Marshall and Mary Jane Brown, started Brown’s Antiques on Oct. 31, 1945. The couple had moved to Zionsville as newlyweds in 1940.

“They started this in their backyard,” Brown said. “For about three or four years, it was a hobby as my dad still had a full-time job elsewhere. After that he quit his job at Allison’s and raised a family on this business.”

Brown said his father spearheaded a movement to rejuvenate the Zionsville business area. Marshall died at 92 in 2003 and Mary Jane died at 88 in 2004.

“They worked in the store up until their death,” Brown said. “They were both involved in civic matters their entire lives.”

Brown, 64, started full-time in the business three years after graduating from Zionsville Community High School in 1969. Brown, who has two older sisters, was the only one who stayed in the business. He and his wife, Kathy, have two sons, Jamie and Matthew, who live in Zionsville.

“I plan to keep working as long as I’m able,” Brown said.

Along with antiques, Brown said the store sells vintage and repurposed furniture. He also has a lampshade business within the store.

“I send lampshades all over the United States (through brownslampshades.com),” said Brown, adding he has largest selection of replacement shades in Central Indiana.

The store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For more, visit brownantiques.com.

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