I think it says something about a place finding its groove when you think it’s been there for years – but it hasn’t. I’m stretching a bit north for a couple of posts this week. I’ve fallen behind on some very cool businesses up Broadway and out toward Happy Holler. Architectural Antics sits just a bit past Central going north on Broadway and I thought it had always been there, but we’d never made it inside.
I learned that they’ve only been in that spot since January of 2013. They had operated in west Knoxville for about thirteen years and , like a number of businesses, they were lured by the promise of big things at the Turkey Creek Public Market. When that didn’t work out, they came to the current location and, in the transition, realized many of the customers who supported them out west actually lived in Old North, Parkridge and Fourth and Gill.
When you look through their inventory, it makes sense. With so much of their stock is comprised of architectural harvests from homes and other structures from the Victorian era, that stock is a natural fit for replacement or augmentation of the many Victorian and Post-Victorian era homes blanketing that area. Whether it is antique door knobs, door bells, stained-glass, leaded glass or interesting cast iron or wrought iron accents, they probably have it.
Also striking about the business – so much so they got the Urban Woman Seal of Approval – is that the inventory is neatly and logically arranged. Every item is easily viewed and even though there are probably tens of thousands of items, we never felt like we were wading through endless piles. Life is good and the browsing is easy.
And taking it easy is how we found co-owner Dayton Hanford. We hit a nice sunny patch of Saturday afternoon and I really enjoyed talking to both him and his son, Abram, who is working with his father and co-owner Greg Patterson. In addition to selling the items on site, they also build custom counters and other pieces. You can see their work in Nothing Too Fancy – they built the counter which I pictured here.
The biggest surprise – and a pleasant one for me – was the collection of vintage concert posters, many of which are framed. Some are reproductions, while others are first, second or third-run. We talked about collecting – both Dayton and myself have several thousand vinyl albums. Both he and Abram, who moved back from Eugene to work in the business, are worth stopping by just to enjoy the easy conversation.
Dayton told Abram that he should come back because the Knoxville he remembered from growing up here wasn’t nearly so cool as the Knoxville we have going these days. He took a chance and says he was pleasantly surprised and has enjoyed being back in town.
And, in turn, he and his father are making a cool part of town a little cooler with the addition of their funky-cool business. Stop in and find that piece you’ve just got to have. Take a look at those vintage posters and the cool iron work. I bet you’ll find something interesting there.