Growing up, my parents were always wheeling and dealing on something. Mom might be at a yard sale or a flea market looking for old rugs and antique furniture. Dad was probably trading an old lawn mower plus a little cash for a gently used Buick Skylark. Kimberly’s parents are cut from the same cloth, but they lean more towards vintage BMW motorcycles and teapots. Long story short – old stuff is in our family’s blood.
That’s one of the reasons why we were so drawn to American Pickers when it debuted on the History Channel back in 2010. There’s something special about seeing that old stuff come back to life and hearing the story behind each piece. And Mike Wolfe has a cool way of connecting with the people he meets along America’s backroads. He’s just a simple guy who loves people and old stuff and the stories they tell.
Photo courtesy of David McClister.
Mike and his wife Jodi have been visiting Nashville for years, but a few years back they bought a home in the Leipers Fork community of Franklin and made their relationship with Tennessee a little more on the permanent side. The couple has an adorable little girl, Charlie, and they are active in the community and very supportive of local business. In 2011, Mike opened his second Antique Archaeology shop in the old Marathon Automobile factory in Nashville.
When we released our very first shipment, MS001, we wanted to give it to a few select people in the Nashville/Franklin area whom we admire, people we thought would “get” what we’re doing and be willing to give us feedback on the experience we’re creating. Mike was one of the first people I reached out to and I was shocked at how quickly he responded. He was genuinely interested in our idea, and since that moment he has been so kind and supportive of what we’re doing.
Today we’re launching a new series here on the Journal called “Five Questions,” and I’m so happy that Mike agreed to be our first guest.
MS: What first attracted you to Nashville?
MW: I would definitely say it was the people. I mean, years ago I rode through on my motorcycle and thought it was a cool place, and after that, I started selling at the flea markets here. It’s the first place where I sold to set designers and art directors, the first place I found myself in the center of a real creative community. And I always loved the music. But essentially, it’s the people.
MS: Your home is in Franklin, but I know you’ve run across some other great small Southern towns. Share with us a few of your favorites.
MW: Oxford, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and those small towns in the Mississippi Delta like Hazelhurst and Greenwood – Robert Johnson country.
MS: You’re taking your wife on a date to any Southern restaurant. Where do you go and what do you order?
MW: That’s easy – Barbara’s Home Cookin’ on Old Hillsboro Road in Franklin. It’s a tradition Southern meat + 3, and I order fried chicken, turnip greens, field peas and coconut cream pie.
MS: Do you have a current favorite thing that’s made in the South?
MW: I love face jugs. The thing about them is that they are so typically Southern, and they were actually made all over the South. I’ve been collecting them for 15 years – they sit on shelves in my house in Iowa and of course my home in Tennessee.
MS: Kentucky bourbon or Tennessee whiskey?
MW: Tennessee whiskey.
Thanks again to Mike for doing this. What a great way to kick this thing off!