Vintage, furniture shops have called Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square home for decades

4 February 2022

Whistlestop Antiques in Historic Railroad Squareon Fourth Street in Santa Rosa, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2022

In Santa Rosa’s Historic Railroad Square, four stores have something in common besides location. Their decades in business, supported by their principles and their customer service, keep valued patrons returning year after year and bring in new clientele excited to shop even during the ongoing pandemic.

Whistlestop Antiques

Among the biggest draws attracting newcomers to the antique shop are the big display windows. The ever-changing displays are constantly refreshed by one of the dealers who aims to showcase eye-turning goods with the hopes a treasure will soon find a new home.

Whistlestop Antiques got its start in Railroad Square when rent was just 10 cents a square foot. Forty-eight years ago, Barbara and Russell Donahue rented half of a former auto repair facility for an antiques and secondhand store.

“Railroad Square was considered a colorful area in 1974,” Barbara Donahue said.

Three years later, the business was doing so well, they took on partners: Carl and Phyllis Moura, Dee and Harry Richardson, and Jim and Tillie Botz. Together the team paid off the other tenant and doubled their square footage.

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