Tiny Little Junk Jaunt OR What $100 will Buy You in an Arkansas Flea Market.

I think I’ve probably mentioned before on the blog the weekend deal my husband and I have had since the twins were babies — I get Saturdays and he gets Sundays. Meaning, I sleep late on Saturdays and/or head out to do some junk searching for the booth and he sleeps late on Sundays and does whatever catches his fancy for the rest of the day. This setup is getting to be increasingly problematic as the kids get older and notice that we don’t always do things as a family on the weekends. I’ve always felt a bit selfish about it, but have forged through the selfish feeling because 1. I need some time away from the kids, especially when I’m staying home with them all day and 2. I’ve got to stock the booth somehow, and during the summer months, Saturday mornings are mandatory for booth shopping. But the days of compartmentalizing like this are probably close to ending…I figure once they get a little bit older, I can start taking them with me on Saturday mornings. They like yard sales (for a bit, anyway) but right now it’s hard to get them to move as fast as I do and, of course, they want to buy everything. I would love to instill a love of yard saling in them as early as possible!

During the winter months, I spend a lot of Saturdays at home, getting chores done, but yesterday I was just SO bored and really needed a change of scenery. There was nothing to do in town — no sales, no auctions — and it was a beautiful, warmish day, so I decided to set off down the Pig Trail — a gorgeous stretch of road that would take me from Fayetteville to Ozark, where my parents lived for a time over 20 years ago (I was born there, actually, but we moved away shortly after that, only to move back when I graduated from high school — my Dad was a Center Director for Job Corps and he got transferred quite a bit). This was a trip I would make many, many weekends while I was in college, and I have been meaning to drive it again just for the nostalgia of it, but never have time. I knew that Ozark had a few flea markets and figured I would mosey on to Clarksville and Russellville after that to hit their thrift stores. I really didn’t have a plan, though, as the main goal was just to shake up the normal routine. I ended up finding some fun things but, unfortunately, they are all for me to keep, not to sell — not so great at a time when the booth sales are lagging a bit AND I don’t have much to re-stock it with. I ended up spending about $100, which I haven’t done in FOREVER. Quite a splurge for me these days.

The drive is so gorgeous. The road cuts right though the Boston Mountains and in Spring, Summer, and Fall, it’s breathtakingly beautiful — it’s as though the trees are forming a canopy above your head. I almost stopped and took some pictures along the way because even in the winter time, with no greenery, there are some beautiful views. It’s a windy, hilly, roller-coaster ride that’s so fun to drive. Ozark is a tiny town — population hovers around 3,600 — that has the potential to be an adorable little city;  their downtown area is on the river and their little city square features buildings with cute facades…but I was disappointed to see how run-down the downtown area has become over the last 20 years. I mean, 20 years is a long time, but it’s clear that things have not exactly been on an upswing in the intervening years. Nonetheless, they have quite a few adorable antique stores worth popping into. The first one I went to was 2nd Street Antiques (202 W. College, Ozark), which was a pretty traditional little flea market. There were a few nice furniture pieces inside but I was a little surprised at how expensive the prices seemed for such a small town. There is a section in middle of the store that stocks project materials like casters, doorknobs, and hinges — all for reasonable prices — and that’s where I spent the bulk of my time. I bought six casters with wooden wheels for $12.

He also had plastic and ceramic casters — loved all of them. Also got this very cool Superman chalk ware figurine that stands about 18 inches high.

He’s got a pretty big chip on the backside so he was marked down to $10. I couldn’t pass him up because the husband is such a comic book geek and he just happens to be raising two comic book geeks as well. Superman was a big hit with the family. I think his face is beautiful.

The last thing I bought there was an Illinois souvenir plate. I paid $4 for this, and I swore I would never pay that much for a souvenir plate because if you look hard enough you can find them for a buck or less, but I want to do a little wall with plates from places Justin and I have lived (or that are otherwise meaningful for us) and  haven’t been able to find an IL plate yet. I got impatient, because that’s how I am.

From there, I hit Old House Antiques (306 N. 3rd St., Ozark), an antique store in the city’s oldest house. I loved this store, and thought their items were exceptionally well-priced. I got this awesome old globe: it’s made out of paper, and is pretty damaged, but you just can’t beat that faded pastel look.

This gorgeous thing was only $12.

Loved that store. But the store that I loved THE MOST (and I was pointed here by the nice folks at The Old House Antiques) was Patina Antiques (107 S. 1st St., Ozark). You guys. I have never seen a store so artfully arranged. It was amazing. Every single display was a thing of beauty. I didn’t have my camera with me, unfortunately, and the only picture I got was with my camera phone and does not do it justice.

Really, that doesn’t give you an idea of how charming this shop was. Every little room was packed floor to ceiling with the BEST old stuff, all displayed gorgeously. I didn’t buy anything here — although I thought her prices were quite reasonable — but I will be back the first chance I get. It’s just a beautiful shop.

I hit Clarksville next — I couldn’t find any thrift stores in Ozark, but I don’t know if that’s because there aren’t any or if my rudimentary research I was doing on the fly with my iPad just wasn’t turning up anything — but I knew Clarksville had a Salvation Army. It turned out to be the WORST Salvation Army I’ve ever stepped foot in — very slim pickings. By this time it was around 2 pm (I got a pretty late start) and I didn’t really have the energy to push on to Russellville, a 30-minute drive away (though I know Russellville has a few pretty good thrift stores), so I just looked up “antiques” in Google and went to the first couple that popped up. The first one was Westside Flea Market (2200 w. Main, Clarksville), which was a small, traditional, multi-vendor flea market. Prices were so-so — varying from vendor to vendor, as they will do in this sort of flea market. I did find some Shiny Brites in wonderful colors, packaged in a sort of tube — has anyone else ever seen them packaged like this?

Mmmmmm….candy colors.

Also got a couple of boxes of smaller, turquoise (aqua?) bulbs.

I spent a total of $10 here (I also got a frame to re-purpose for $1.50).

On my way out to Westside, I passed an unassuming building with “Antiques” written on the side of it — I decided to swing on by there and check it out. I was deeeelighted that I took a chance on Antiques Plus (1622 W. Main St., Clarksville). This traditional antique store is huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge — the front is big enough but then you get to the back of it and there’s a door that says “more in back” and you walk into a room that’s twice the size of the front. The front is full of well-organized and beautifully displayed pieces — a delight for the eyes — but the back, while still neat and organized, is a little more digger-y. I loved both sections, believe me. I could have shopped for hours, but I knew I should be getting back to Fayetteville, so swung through pretty quickly. I could not bring myself to leave behind this yard-long college picture.

This is from Asbury College in Wilmore, KY, in 1926. I find it fascinating that the women students are segregated from the male — the women are on the left, in the foreground, and the men on the right. What I assume to be faculty are standing in the back. And I’m assuming this fine fellow, looking so uncomfortable about having to sit on the ground, is the college president.

According to Wikipedia, this was (and is) a Christian college — non-denominational but has had many Methodist pastors as president. It is odd that that many women were attending in 1926? This was $35: a pittance for a yard-long photo like this but an ENORMOUS amount of money for me to spend on myself. Y’all, I just don’t spend this kind of money because it’s more fun to find the big bargains and, oh, yeah, I don’t have a lot of moola to be messing around like this. But I just can’t get the group panoramics out of my blood, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to find them at prices like this. I guess I was just in a mood to spend money yesterday.

All day, I was finding small metal bank globes, which I covet (as any globe-lover does) but which were all priced to high for me (upwards of $20). At Antiques Plus I found this one for $10 and I could resist no longer.

It was the yellow color theme that got me, I think, and also, the fact that it’s the smallest one I’ve ever found. If you are anywhere near Clarksville and are an antique/vintage fan, you are not going to want to miss this fantastic store.

I also bought a ziploc baggie of old wooden blocks with pictures on them for $4 at Antiques Plus, but they were undergoing a rigorous cleaning process (i.e., soaking in the kitchen sink in Dawn dishwashing liquid) and I didn’t get pictures of them.

So there you have it — what $100 will buy you in a couple of small Arkansas towns. Now, mind you, had I been buying to re-sell, I would never have spent that much, but I figured out pretty early on it was going to be a “me” trip instead of a booth trip. I need to do a little more research to see if I can find a few more thrift stores in the area, and I might go back up that way during yard sale season, when I can hit both yard sales and flea markets. But I think I did okay — everything I bought would have been much more in Chicago, for sure. But is the fantasy of going to a small town and finding a bunch of bargains for super-cheap a thing of the past? Did the Internet (and American Pickers) ruin everything for us bargain hunters? I was so surprised to see those globe banks prices so steeply in this tiny little town in Arkansas — likewise, anything industrial, like wire baskets, were priced as high as they would be in a more urban town. I mean, honestly, one of those flea markets I visited in Ozark was priced more highly than the one I sell at, which puzzles me.

Anyway: it was a beautiful day and I saw some fun stuff. I need some company for the next trip, though, so I’m taking volunteers!


January 25, 2015 - 10:25 pm

laurie magpie ethel That superman is really wonderful! On those Shiny Brites in the long box…those aren’t that unusual. I pick them up in that style of boxes often. The colors you got are great. Sounded like a fun way to spend the day.

January 25, 2015 - 11:53 pm

Shara WAVING HER HAND LIKE HORSHACK. ME! ME! ME! I’ve never been on the Pig Trail – can you even believe that????

I don’t know how anyone is selling anything right ow and especially not at those inflated prices you mentioned (not what you bought… – big city or small city. Some shops think that everything is “junk” and a :pickers delight” and all that. Some of it is well, just JUNK.

January 26, 2015 - 6:25 am

Erica I have found that most small town antique stores are really high priced. Maybe it’s because they don’t get a lot of traffic so what they do get, they need to make up for it. My sister and I went on a road trip to California last summer and hit a bunch of small town stores and every single one was like that. So frustrating!

I have lots of Shiny Brites in those tubes. It’s a cute way of packaging and I love how different they look stacked with the boxes that we are all used to seeing. Love the colors that you found!

So happy you had a great day. We all need days like that and a day alone filled with hunting junk sounds pretty dang perfect to me.

Have a great week!


January 26, 2015 - 10:21 am

Leilani Warden Don’t I ever understand your need to just get up and go have some “me” time!!!! Glad you got to do that.

My 3 children are 10, 10, and 6 and, while I used to LOVE yard sale time, their activities and my husbands wish that we have good family time (he doesn’t get the whole thrifting/scrounging thing like we do) keep us not venturing out on the weekends. Actually, lounging in pi’s all day eating and playing board games is really not that bad either though. Ha ha! Your children are still so young that its probably really hard to shop with them because of fear of breaking stuff and “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom – now!” (again) on replay and yes, they want EVERYTHING. I tried the old keep your hands in your pockets and I’ll give you a treat but I’m so safety-sally that I’m afraid they’ll trip and smash their face on a concrete floor and not have a way to brace themselves. Then I tried the “here’s $1.00 for you to spend so don’t ask for anything else.” Lately though we just have been able to make ventures or stop-offs after driving to and from events at thrift stores like Goodwill that, around here, is open 9am – 9pm M-Sat’s (LOVE THAT). My 10 yr olds have developed a great eye for bargains and also aren’t shy about spending their own Birthday or Christmas money if they really want something. Sometimes even knowing I’ll buy something for them I’ll ask them if they want it they need to buy it with their own money. That separates the really want it items from the well, it would be nice to have items. My 6 year old is still at the age where she just wants to want. Her buying sense hopefully will come later. My Saturday find of the year was a perfect condition, Pottery Barn, twin, quilted comforter of all the MLB, National Teams which retails still on their website for $189.00 and I bought it for $4.00!!!!! I got 2 baseball pillowcases (a Yankees one and a Braves one) and then an all National teams assorted one for $1.00 each. My son was ecstatic. He’s a huge Cincinnati Reds fan as well as my husband.

I collect globes too and adore that little bright yellow color one you found! What a bright spot in a collection that will make. The base on the faded globe is so beautiful too. I really like that weathered look. And the giant picture of the college – WOW. Such a statement piece. That’ll add class to a wall somewhere. I wouldn’t know what to do with those casters but the wood wheels are so neat. I like the Superman too and it looks like he has a little lipstick on. Too many kisses from Lois Lane??

Glad you got a chance to get out and breathe. It sure does the soul good. I’d pass up manicures and “pampering” any day to get out and go treasure hunting like this. One day your kids (and my little) will naturally catch on and y’all will be able to enjoy it from a family bonding aspect. 🙂 Have a great week!

January 26, 2015 - 4:26 pm

Heidi@TheMerryMagpieVintage The colors of those Shiny Brites are so lovely! I find them in that odd box size too. Guess that was the way they made the boxes for when you didn’t want to buy a whole dozen? And 5 boxes of those plus a frame for $10 is a darn good deal by Denver standards. I wonder about small-town antique stores too–my grandma lives in a town of about 8000 that is quite far from any large cities. I am always shocked at the high prices they put on stuff in the antique and junk stores there. The people in those towns are relatively poor, so it’s not priced for locals to buy, that’s for sure. And it’s not a town that sees a high amount of tourists either, so I’m not sure that there is a lot of out-of-town money being spent either. Can’t figure it out.

January 27, 2015 - 6:54 am

Chanelle Great post! It’s a perfect arrangement if you ask me. I agree that small towns seem to have the highest prices. I almost avoid them now. Plus I can’t bring myself to pay retail…although superman would have been mine. I pick up any smaller globes that I can find (no regular ones) as they take up less room and are super popular to flip. I had a Chicago one that I should’ve sent you but didn’t think of it. Hope that trip brought sanity…

January 27, 2015 - 8:50 am

Sarah I think its an issue of supply and demand – here in St Louis antiques are plentiful. They are in every single house, thrift store, yard sale, etc. It certainly means lower prices. The smaller towns are always INSANE with the prices – but there is a lot less to choose from for those “pickers”. Fewer residents, no shopping, etc. I have come to realize I am totally spoiled by “big city” living and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

January 27, 2015 - 12:55 pm

Kathy Epley Hi Lara Jo, I always enjoy your posts. You indeed came away with treasures, and I just have to comment on the photo. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, I attended a few annual hillside Christian music festivals in Wilmore called ICHTHUS. I actually have my program from 1981, which was the last one I attended, with 3 girlfriends from my hometown. Awesome weekends! It was Asbury Theological Seminary, and on that last trip there, I visited a family I knew, while the husband was attending seminary. Gotta say, if I had found such a treasure, I would have scooped it up, too! So interesting, these large snapshots from history! Certainly makes you wonder what their lives were like.

January 28, 2015 - 5:59 am

Eddie Mitchell Wow! What a great write up! Sounds like a fun trip. Some of those Arkansas backroads are lovely. My husband is from Ozark originally and his mother owns a store in Clarksville, so you were down in my once or twice a year stomping grounds. I didn’t know there was a Salvation Army in Clarksville, however. Could I get the address? There are three other thrifts in Clarksville that I know of. There is a Community Thrift Store run by the 7th Day Adventists on West Main Street. There are also two church run thrifts–one called the Mustard Seed (I think) that is kind of behind the Fred’s, and one on (I think) College Street run by (I think) a Presbyterian Church. It’s in a little house behind the church. It’s my favorite, as it has the best prices and I tend to find the best things there.

I’ve never hit that flea market, because it’s a weekend thing and we’re usually headed out of town by then. I think the antique store is the one I have been wanting to go in for years, but we never have the time. There are a lot of relatives to visit when we go down there.

Russellville has a decent Goodwill, a scary Salvation Army and another place called (I think) Marva.

Ozark had a tiny thrift on the square called Ozark Community Thrift. I did not get there on our last visit, so it might or might not be there now? I did not know about the antique stores you mentioned, so I will have to check them out. There is (was?) also a used bookstore on the square that’s utterly disorganized and nothing is priced. The place REEKS of cat pee. A definite miss.

Another reason for the higher prices on stuff is that so many of the smaller towns everywhere have turned to antique stores as a tourism draw as a way to shore up local retail economies that have been wrecked by Wal-Marts. Look at how many of those stores are in locations that used to be family run drug stores, groceries, clothing stores, etc.

Finally, one last connection between your post and my life. I live in Kentucky and went to college not too terribly far from Ashbury. Weird, huh?

February 2, 2015 - 5:18 pm

Pam @ House of Hawthornes Yay for “me” time! There are quite a few tiny out of the way shops in some pretty small towns here that just don’t understand pricing too. I think it does have to do with American Pickers. And oddly enough (not) 99% of the same stuff is setting there the next time I stop in. I have a theory that some of them are front for money laundering because I can’t understand why they are still in business. Sort of like the car wash in Breaking Bad 🙂

February 12, 2015 - 10:49 am

Laurie LOVE those shiny brites! And the globes, and everything else, basically. 🙂 That Superman… <3

I will add these spots to my list on the Canvas Corp blog post. Thanks for sharing!!

July 11, 2015 - 10:58 pm

Lara Jo Can’t believe I never got around to answering this e-mail, Eddie, because I LOVED reading it. I am from Ozark as well!!! Would love to compare notes with your husband! I was born in 1969 and we lived there for about two years before moving — my dad worked for the Cass Job Corps Center and got transferred to Mississippi. They then moved back after I graduated from HS when he got transferred BACK, so that was 1987. PLUS, my Dad went to college in Clarksville and worked as a night desk person for a hotel there. It is SO WEIRD that we have so much Arkansas in common! SMALL WORLD.

Now I don’t remember where that Salvation Army was, because my mind is basically swiss cheese and I can’t keep anything in it. Sorry about that. But DO go to that one store in Ozark I mentioned next time you’re there — Patina Antiques — and the Clarksville antique store I talked about was aces as well. Thank you so much for the info on the thrift stores in the area — that is good to know as I want to do a little jaunt down there sometime soon again, now that the Pig Trail will be all leafy and pretty. They’ve been having terrible mud slides along the Pig Trail, though, will all of the rain we’ve been having.

THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write this note and again, so sorry for it taking so long for me to get back to you!