Laura Young and Ivy Corson of DIGS

For the midtown Champaign antique and vintage shop Digs , it’s not necessarily about the treasure, it’s the hunt that is the most enjoyable part of the process. Business owner Laura Young and vendor Ivy Morgan Corson recalled stories of their younger selves picking pieces off the street and combing through the alleyways for discarded valuables; decades later, they were brought together over a mutual passion for antiques, vintage, and intriguing objects. DIGS, the collaborative store that opened last July, features the collections of several dealers who see the value, potential, and joy in heirlooms.

Other vendors include Joy Davis and Robb Tobias

How did you start Digs?

Young: Well, we were all in another consigning place all together and we were sorely lacking in space. We were kindred spirits that had similar ideas on what to have in the store, and we both wanted more autonomy and a cohesive vibe.

What got you into consigning in the first place?

Young: Well, for me, when I first moved to California, actually, I really wanted to have a cool apartment, and I didn’t have the money to do that. I got the apartment and then I started picking up things off of the side of the road and fixing them up and redoing them and it just snowballed from there. I just couldn’t stop doing that. 


Corson: I started buying vintage back in the seventies in little shops and I loved it. Wore vintage clothes all the time. When I moved to Denver, Denver had really great alleys. I had an import store for a long time, then at some point, I merged the two, the imports and the vintage, and then I moved here.

P/C: Champaign Center Partnership

What kinds of antique pieces grab your attention?

Corson: Any kind. 

Young: It changes constantly. My taste keeps changing but classic pieces I guess is what I’m drawn toward. I’m super drawn to velvets, from velvet sofas to wingback chairs. I love timeless lighting, and pieces that have potential and they need a little TLC and fixing up.

What can you expect to find at Digs?

Young: There really is something for everyone. I keep saying that, but it’s true. There is anything you could need to decorate your home. Plus, there are collectible things. There are kitschy things. 

Corson: We’re not stuck in a particular period. So a person who likes mid century modern will find stuff here. Mhmm. Um, a person who wants to outfit their new bar with cool vintage stuff will find lots of that here. Cool memorabilia.

Young: And we also have new clothing and new jewelry along with some vintage jewelry.

P/C: Champaign Center Partnership
P/C: Champaign Center Partnership

Why Midtown Champaign?

Young: Well, we looked and looked and looked for a building with good visibility and that had some size. 

Corson: I have wanted to be in this building since I moved here 13 years ago, only It was never available until much later… I always just loved something about this building. We had rented another space from our landlord, and they found a different place for their offices. It was completely gutted, so they kinda finished it to our specs. I talked her [Young] into it because I was like, oh my god, this is my building. 

Young: I hated this building…it just looked so junky on the outside before. But now, they did a really great job of doing what we asked and painting the whole [building] white and making it look like one cohesive space. 

P/C: Champaign Center Partnership

What’s on the horizon for Digs?

Young: Just to be busy. Absolutely. [Especially] when Springfield St. opens up. Well, they made progress, at least. The good thing about it right now is you can get here from both ways. What  people don’t know is that we are here and open because at the end, it says the road is closed, and the road really is not closed… Maybe we’ll have a welcome back party and also celebrate our first year opening, which is July 7th. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already.

Corson: I know we always talked about doing, like doing a block party in the parking lot, which we would still like to do eventually once [Springfield] is open. Or just have a food truck there.

How do you have self-control not bringing everything home with you?

Corson: Well, who said we did? 

Young: Sometimes it’s the finding that’s the exciting part… Things do get brought home and switched out. Every day, I think I need a bigger house.

Why should folks buy repurposed antiques versus going to IKEA or Walmart?

Young: Well, because it has way more personality and style for 1, but 2, keeps things out of landfills.

Corson:  While all those big box stores do have things that are useful, I mean, I certainly bought IKEA stuff, but I don’t like to have the same thing that everybody else has. It’s like, you know, I go into IKEA and I see the way my living room could be, but it’s also the way 20,000 other people’s living rooms. Whereas when I find something cool and just, you know, much more exciting. That’s something totally unique, I think, for individualized interiors or lifestyle. 

Young: You know, things get to live on for sure. 

For more information about this small business in Champaign Center, please visit the Digs Facebook page.

P/C: Champaign Center Partnership

Main P/C – Champaign Center Partnership