The History Channel has made “picking” famous.
What is picking you ask? Picking in its very essence is finding treasures via other people’s trash.
Two people have made antique picking an American pastime: Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. Through their show on the History Channel, American Pickers, the world was introduced (or re-introduced) to picking.
Mike and Frank, with the help of their assistant Danielle, travel all over the United States in great anticipation of finding treasures by sifting through people’s trash, which includes a lot of stored — even hoarded — stuff. They will go to great lengths to find the treasures, and then haggle over the price. It’s really entertaining to watch and their knowledge about antiques is very impressive.
One of the American Pickers, Mike Wolfe, has opened 2 U.S. based stores to share his finds with the world:
Both are called Antique Archaeology.
I have no plans of traveling to Iowa anytime soon, but Nashville… well that’s in my backyard!
Here’s what Nashville’s Antique Archaeology store is like, if you haven’t been there yet.
I am not the only American Picker fan in my household. My whole family has watched the show regularly, so together we went to check out Antique Archaeology in Nashville.
It was no surprise to me that Antique Archaeology has taken up shop in the old Marathon Automobile Factory, currently known as Marathon Village. It’s a stunning building that was a vacant cotton mill turned into a car manufacturing plant. The warehouse manufactured cars from 1910 to 1914, then car parts until 1918. The building was completely renovated in the 1990’s and is now home to several businesses.
There’s a lot of rust, there’s a lot of finds, there’s a lot of history to this place. — Lauren Wray Grishman
Antique Archaeology had its grand opening on July 2, 2011. Since then, it has become a popular tourist stop in Nashville.
On the day of our visit, the store was packed! When it’s crowded and hard to maneuver around, you tend to speak with the people around you. We talked to many people there. The majority were from out of town and had put Antique Archaeology on their list of must do’s during their Nashville visit. That’s impressive. I guess you could say Antique Archaeology is boosting the Nashville economy?
The store was a little bit smaller than I had anticipated, but let me just say every square inch of it was utilized to its fullest potential. (That’s a nice way of saying there was stuff everywhere: shelves, walls, ceilings, etc. You can see glimpses of what it’s like on Mike’s Facebook page.)
Many visitors find the one-room store surprisingly small. (There’s less than 3,000 square feet of selling space.) On weekends, a bouncer limits crowds to a “comfortable” level, hence the frequent line to get in. — Tennessean
Looking For Treasures
The merchandise inside Antique Archaeology is labeled 3 ways:
- NFS – not for sale
- Mike’s personal collection
- Merchandise for sale
We had fun taking in the sights and sounds of Antique Archaeology.
My favorite piece was a tall, thick, wooden door. The wood was unfinished and had huge metal pieces on it. I was very curious about this humongous door, so I read the tag. It was labeled “massive door from Grizzly Adam’s house in California” with a price tag of $1,500. Very cool!
My boys enjoyed a piece from Mike’s personal collection. It was a vintage Indian motorcycle from 1919.
I hope I don’t shock anyone by saying that we left the store empty-handed. We could have purchased a magnet or a t-shirt, but really we’ve got plenty of those things. We walked away without buying anything because there was nothing in our price range that we wanted.
Does that mean we will never go back? Absolutely not! This store is one that you go back to time and time again because the merchandise is always changing and you never know what unique treasures you will find there.
I’ve been doing business in Nashville for years, selling to private clients, interior designers, photographers and prop stylists here, so opening here just seemed like a smart thing to do — and it’s time that someone brought retail to Marathon,” he says. “I feel so lucky to have that space. It feels like I asked Nashville to marry me, and she said yes. — Mike Wolfe
Fun Things Nearby
- Bang Candy Company – super tasty handmade and hand-dipped chocolate marshmallows.
- Old Time Pickin’ Parlor – they were pickin’ live on this day and had a variety of old time guitars for sale.
- Garage Coffee Company – delicious coffee!
We never would have visited those places had we not gone specifically to Antique Archaeology on this day.
We did spend some money in the other stores… which is kind of ironic.
We’ll definitely be back though, and on our next visit to Antique Archaeology we hope to find a treasure that we can bring home!
Good To Know Before You Go
Antique Archaeology is definitely worth a visit!
Don’t forget to read the tags, because not everything is for sale. And be sure to allow time to visit the other stores at Marathon Village. It’s worth it.
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10AM to 6PM; Sunday 12PM to 5PM
Parking: There is FREE parking on site.
Leiper’s Fork is full of fun people doing fascinating things, which means our dear friend Mike Wolfe fits right in. Last summer, the Iowa native and star of the History Channel show American Pickers purchased a vacation home in the tiny Tennessee burg, located about a half-hour south of Nashville. Besides having a place for he and his longtime ladylove, Jodi Faeth, to come to escape the harsh Midwestern winters, Leiper’s has become a sort of spiritual home away from home for Mike. — Imogene and Willie
Helpful Advice For New Antique Pickers
- A Few Tips For Antique Picking Yourself
- Picker’s Bible: How To Pick Antiques Like The Pros
- How To Become An Antiques & Collectibles Picker
- Reselling Antiques: 5 Principles Of Power Picking
- How To Be An Antique Picker
- American Picker: A Handy Resource For Antique Picking
- Mike Wolfe’s Kid Pickers Website (And Book)