Gayle Burke can’t imagine a world without antiques.

A native of Natchitoches, LA, the oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase, she always loved the romance of the fabled southern plantation and the beautiful furniture, clothing and décor of days gone by.

In the mid1970’s, Gayle, a lifelong collector, began dabbling in the antique business. She displayed antiques at booths in antique malls in the area, such as ones in Navasota and Willis and at Conroe’s Downtown Antique Mall. In recent years, she often lamented that Conroe no longer had an antique mall.

For several years, Gayle and her husband, John, talked about opening an antique mall in Conroe. They toyed with the idea of locating one in downtown Conroe because of its historic significance.

Then Gayle met Hershey Muse, the owner of several buildings in downtown Conroe, including a vacant one on Main Street. He told Gayle that he’d like for the building, which most recently housed a legal firm, to be used for retail. When Gayle told him that she wanted to open an antique mall and call it “Mimi’s on Main” Hershey gasped.

“He said ‘You are kidding me. My grandmother built this building and her name was Mimi,’” Gayle recalled.

Stunned by the coincidence, Gayle – “Mimi” to her grandchildren – did more research. She learned that Tabitha “Mimi” Ferguson built the building in 1919. At that time, it had only a dirt floor and was known as Butler and Grimes Five and Dime.

Gayle ultimately decided that Mimi’s on Main was destined to occupy the building first built by another “Mimi” nearly 100 years before. Over the next few months, she began to transform the building. While Hershey had renovated the exterior, Gayle began working on the interior to give it a venerable, yet cheerful look. Meanwhile, she set up her own booths in the store and recruited other antique dealers who share her commitment of providing quality, reasonably-priced antiques and gift items.

The much-anticipated opening of Mimi’s on Main occurred on May 2, 2011, and shoppers immediately noticed the store’s attractive displays and eclectic assortment of quality items.

The mall has a diverse roster of dealers, which ensures a vast variety of merchandise, from primitive to Victorian. Booths at Mimi’s feature everything from rustic antiques to vintage china, from French antiques to rare books.

Shoppers can find items for every taste and every budget at Mimi’s on Main, from small collectibles to distinctive antiques.