Atomic Antiques brings midcentury furnishings to Madison
Store opens in long vacant storefront next to Home Depot
Atomic Antiques, Madison’s new headquarters for all things antique to midcentury modern, opened its doors on Monday, Aug. 1. in a 25,000-square-foot, freshly renovated retail space filled with inventory from over 75 dealers.
The store fills a vacant retail space at 4546 Verona Road, next to Home Depot, that was most recently occupied by a Halloween Express store.
Atomic Antiques is the first foray into retail ownership for owners Jennifer and Bob Richardson, but the couple is not new to antiques. Jennifer has been a dealer at Odana Antiques for the last 16 years, and her parents, Dave and Ann Nelson, co-owned an antique store in La Crosse for about 20 years prior to moving to Madison in 2020. Their experience and guidance have been a valuable addition, she notes.
Jennifer and Bob’s path to Atomic Antiques, however, reads a bit like the story of a well-traveled antique that’s seen a few things.
The two have been friends for about 25 years, but it wasn’t until 2013 that they reconnected and were married a couple of years later. Bob was born in the Madison area and has lived here most of his life. Jennifer was born and raised in La Crosse and move to Madison to attend UW–Madison. After graduation, she stayed in the area working in corporate human resources, eventually serving as HR director for a medical device company and later Monona Bank. Bob retired from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office in January 2020, where he had worked since 1997. After almost 20 years of service on the bomb squad and swat team, he experienced a less-than-enjoyable table saw accident followed by a bout with kidney cancer — both in 2018 — that led to his retirement. He then worked as the security manager for the VA hospital and clinics in Madison before the couple opened Atomic Antiques.
Commenting on the store’s unique name, Jennifer says it was inspired by the midcentury modern design style the couple loves.
“We have always been fans of midcentury modern design,” notes Jennifer. “We chose our current home specifically because it was built in 1957 and personifies the midcentury modern style. In addition to the Sputnik lamp style, midcentury also has the atomic symbol. Hence, we chose ‘atomic’ and paired it with the focus of the business and the result was Atomic Antiques.”
Midcentury modern design has remained popular, Jennifer says, in part thanks to its clean lines and simple style, as well as the ability to fit into most settings. “It’s fun, timeless, and can be had at all price points. It’s also very well constructed compared to some of the later-era furniture, including a lot of furniture being manufactured today. Brighter colors and beautiful wood finishes also represent many of the best designs from that era.”
Dealers hail from Madison, Milwaukee, Rockford, and Chicago. Experienced staff are on hand to help shoppers find the perfect retro furnishings for their living spaces or offices.
Jennifer also emphasizes the growing trend of recycling and upcycling in home décor. “More and more shoppers are shifting away from purchasing all new items in their decorating process. This is due to environmental issues, labor considerations, and the superior construction quality of retro furniture. Shopping at our store is the perfect response to those concerns. Plus, our store is just a fun place to visit — a completely unique shopping experience.”
Noting the increase in the number of professionals working from home over the past two and a half years, Jennifer says many of the midcentury modern furniture and other antiques at the store would be a perfect fit for those working remotely from home. “In addition to credenzas and bookcases, dealers also have desks and tables that would be excellent, stylish, and functional work pieces.”
The public is invited to the Atomic Antiques grand opening celebration throughout the weekend of Aug. 19–21. That Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, shoppers can enjoy refreshments, music, and the opportunity to win Atomic Antiques gift cards and other prizes.
4546 Verona Road, next to Home Depot
Open daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
On Facebook and Instagram @AtomicofMadison
Grand opening festivities:
- Friday, Aug. 19, 3–9 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 20, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 21, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
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