By Thomas Sellers Jr.
With motorists searching for parking spaces all day, the one-year anniversary of Abandoned Antiques was a success.
Saturday kept Judi Peery and staff busy from The Barn to Becca’s Flower Shop. From familiar faces to those stopping by to check out the hoopla, the celebration with the community validated the vision of Peery once she took over the former Alison’s Alcove on September 1, 2020.
“God did this, I give all my glory to God,” she said. “He has been over this. The people, I don’t know where in the world all the people are coming from. I don’t know where all the customers are coming from. But I am so glad we’ve got double-wide doors.”
More than a year ago Peery was presented with an opportunity to take over the operations at 8232 Highway 51 North from Alison’s Alcove owner David Barczak. Barczak stepped away from his business because of health issues.
Alison Alcove moved from its 4792 Navy Road location to the old Cole’s building. Going from around 9,000 square feet to about 75,000 square feet, the pink flamingos of Alison’s Alcove transformed into the roosters of Abandoned Antiques with signature antiques, furniture, local art and man cave with a craft’s room, sports lounge, children’s area and the new Shops of Alison, the mall within the mall.
“My regular customers are family,” Peery said. “They come in and dispect a pandemic. They want this hug. A lot of people come in here on a regular basis. We’re wide open. They come in just to breathe and relax. They can reminisce about stuff.
“They might not buy something every time, but they just keep coming back and coming back,” she added. “It’s so good to build this type of relationship with the community.”
Now Abandoned Antiques has nearly 200 vendors with a full flower shop and boutique.
“We couldn’t have done this without them,” Peery said. “It’s one big wheel. It’s a puzzle, you’ve got to have each one to do the whole thing. I wouldn’t be here without the vendors.
“The customers wouldn’t be here without the vendors,” she continued. “The vendors wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have the store or the customers. It’s one big pie. You can’t have one without the other.”
If Abandoned Antique is a pie, Peery said the staff must be the crust holding all the filling together.
“They are the root of this,” she explained. “I walk around saying ‘Hey’ to everybody. They are the root of this. They keep that wheel greased. They make everything run smoothly. Just keeping this place clean.
“We open the doors at 10 a.m. but we’re here at 8 to make sure the bathrooms are clean,” she added. “We close at 6 but we don’t get out of here until at least 7 p.m. It’s a long day but everybody is satisfied with what they do and happy to be a part of it.”
Back in February the staff at Abandoned Antiques was dealt a blow with the closure of the facility because of the Shelby County Health Department. Taking over during a global pandemic was already a challenge, but the crew at Abandoned Antiques kept a close eye on changing regulations while trying to serve the needs of their loyal customers.
Through the ups and downs of year one, the road to September’s celebration was worth every moment, Peery said, just to see the happy faces throughout Saturday.
“We’ve got big plans for next year,” she noted. “Becca’s Flower Shop has taken off all on its own. She has just gone from this little spot to full blown her own end of the store running it herself.
“A lot of big plans are coming up with our military,” Peery added. “We’re a strong supporter of our military, our country and our flag. We will have another Field of Honor like the one we had from Fourth of July to Memorial Day. We’ve got the Traveling Vietnam Wall coming next September. We’ve got our first military vendor show coming April with some reenactment out there in our field.”
With a spring fling open house on the schedule as well, Peery said many more anniversaries are also in the future plans for Abandoned Antiques. And it all started with the dream of Alison and David Barczak.
“This was David’s vision,” Peery concluded. “David saw this and he painted each one of these pink poles. This was his garden and he planted these seeds. They build these walls and he is the foundation. I hope he’s proud of what I have done.”
For more information and updates on Abandoned Antiques offerings and reopening, call 901-317-9137.