Looking at Junk: Troy and Brundidge Edition

By on 11 June, 2014 in Kate and Stephen, Shopping with 0 Comments

Regular MML readers know that sometimes we take field trips to the surrounding area to poke around in their junk antique shops. We wrote about Prattville Pickers, the shops of Wetumpka, and even our most recent find in Fort Payne. We haven’t yet written about (but highly recommend) the scene in Dothan, Mobile, and even in the small towns on the way to Gulf Shores. The Alabama Antique Trail has got a lot of listings (and a nice map available at most of the stores listed), but even that site indexes only a small portion of the stores available for browsing.

This past Saturday we decided to try our luck down in Troy and Brundidge. Plus, we had some family over there we’d been meaning to see. So we packed up and drove down 231 looking for adventure – or at least some oddities to photograph. Our first stop was Hillside Antiques. This gem on 231 is owned by Susan and Benny Jinright. It’s got lots of beautiful furniture at good prices and plenty of household necessities. Also a stuffed bear wearing a Moscow University T-shirt. We bought some comic books and two classic books about gardening in the South. Hopefully the latter will help us save some of our more straggly azaleas.

Then we headed into downtown Brundidge. There was a time not too long ago when the town tried to brand itself as a kind of destination for folks looking for antiques. That plan seems to have collapsed a little, with several shops closing their doors. We arrived and immediately saw signs for an antique auction – it would be our first, how could we resist? It was early afternoon, the misty cool of morning shifting gears into afternoon’s dense and humid burn. Outside, wiry men were loading blanket-covered items into assorted trucks and trailers. Inside, blustery fans pointed at disheveled high school students who lounged at the counter serving cake slices and sodas in between text messages. Fifteen rows of mismatched chairs were set up facing a display table. Every few minutes, a sturdy man and his somewhat overexcited colleague with a black hat and matching shoes would bring a new item to the table for sale. The item was rotated for display, with various features (drawers, hinges, colors) highlighted while the auctioneer behind and above them pattered prices and addenda at a pace that you’ve always associated with auctions but never been able to verify unless you’ve been to one. Allow us to confirm: They do talk super-fast. The prices on an antique nightstand can rise quickly. Everyone registered for the auction has a number. It felt friendly, like folks knew who was bidding, even though at times some of the cutthroat bidding was over a $5 range.

Previous experience with auctions made us believe there would be some kind of catalog, with numbers and so forth so we would know what was what. Not in Brundidge. The auction we saw was for folks who were able/willing to show up early and prowl the aisles of (mostly) furniture and hang out till it got up to auction. Folks seem to have gotten some good deals; later visits to “antique stores” in the area revealed similar items at a markup of 50%-500%. We left without bidding but happy to have accidentally stumbled into a look at the underbelly of the antique trade.

Next we went to see the “Sign Man,” aka City Antiques, just across the train tracks from downtown. If you’ve ever seen American Pickers, you know what to expect here – signs galore, some in unbelievably pristine condition. It’s fun to walk around the multiple buildings on the property, even in the early summer heat. Everything was a bit too nice/expensive for our taste, but it was fun to look. Recommended for folks looking for big signature advertising pieces or larger furniture.

As a last stop in Brundidge, we stopped at Green Antiques. It was so hot in the two buildings that even our intrepid journey came to a bit of an abrupt end. We stayed long enough to procure a super cool thermometer now residing in our bathroom. They’ve got tons of neat furniture, signs, organizational devices, scales – the kind of decorative mish-mash that suits a city loft or a lake house equally. But man, it’s hot in the summer.

We stopped in Banks to visit family and cruised into downtown Troy for our final stop. Troy Antiques is located on Troy’s downtown square and it’s a gem, a great store with good merchandise at reasonable prices. The book room is unique, with collections clearly drawn from Troy faculty. There are also a lot of good housewares in stock. We bought a handful of comics and a great rectangular ceramic storage dish with glass lid, perfect for storage in a household trying to get rid of plastics.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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