The name “Generations” wasn’t just a nod to the timeless treasures within our walls. It was born of a deep love for the legacy of the generations who made this business a reality and who inspired it years before our doors were ever opened.
The store opened June 7, 2013 as a labor of love inspired by one woman – Stella Penry, who was motivated to realize her dream of having her own antique store after years of collecting and selling on eBay and through consignment space. A native of north Topeka and of “Little Russia,” after her first trip to NOTO for a First Friday Art Walk, the pieces of her passion all came together.
Decades ago, Stella’s parents, Ernest and Marie Kanatzar, owned a business one block South on Kansas Avenue called “The Spud-Nut Donut Shop.” Walking into the building again for the first time in years filled her with a bittersweet sense of nostalgia. Stella and her family had spent their lives in these buildings, having grown up just a few blocks away. In the decades that followed the floods that devastated much of old downtown north Topeka, many business owners had moved on to greener pastures, leaving the historic structures to waste slowly away with age and neglect. Many of the buildings hadn’t been open to the public for years.
It was then that Stella decided to combine her passion for buying and selling antiques with the tangible connection to her family history in the area. She set out to purchase a building in the NOTO Arts District, finally landing on what is the beautiful old structure that we know now as Generations.