The Valdosta Daily Times
LAKE PARK —
You can find a lot of things at The Barn & Indoor Market. The store’s motto is “If we ain’t got it, you don’t need it!” But one of the greatest things you can find are the stories.
There’s a wealth of unique items at The Barn, each one with a story behind it.
Take John Wayne, for instance. He’s the first thing you see when you walk in, mounted on his horse. It’s a piece that L.A. Gilbert, who runs The Barn, along with his wife, Cathy, happened on by accident, sitting at the kitchen table of a family he was meeting to look at a few pieces they wanted to sell to him.
After spending a few weeks haggling back and forth, Wayne took up his current place next to the door of The Barn. L.A. insists Wayne is for sell at the right price; Cathy insists he is not.
Or take a photo from the 1890s that used to hang on the wall. One day, a woman walked in, saw the photo from 30 yards away, and declared it was her great-uncle. She proceeded to name the photography company in Tennessee that took the photograph and the town where the company was located. Sure enough, she was right. She bought the photograph that day.
Items like these are sprinkled throughout The Barn. A piece of “tramp art” from the 1930s. An old Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrel. An ornate wood-burning heater from the Victorian era. A rare vase from 1909. A nine-square painting from artist Li-Leger.
Then there’s the story of L.A. and Cathy.
“I had always been interested in picking,” said L.A. “In the last couple of years, I just got more into it.”
L.A. had been picking for 30 years or so, buying pieces and reselling out of his home.
“I went for John Deere stuff, and those old small farm tools, made out of wood and iron.”
Cathy’s dad was a picker as well and it was her father who got L.A. more involved in it, to the point where he and Cathy started thinking they might want to sell a little more than just out of their house.
They started selling out of the Lake Park Flea Market, doing a decent business. But when it closed, L.A. and Cathy started looking for another option. They hit upon their current location, 5205 Mill Store Plaza Road in the Lake Park Outlet Mall, but they didn’t think they’d be able to use the whole building, which is sizable. They talked with some of their friends and fellow merchants from the flea market and found some of them were interested in a place as well. The Gilberts decided to split the building in half: on one side, The Barn, and on the other, the Indoor Market.
They opened last year in October. Slowly, word-of-mouth started spreading. More customers started coming in, especially on the weekends, and more merchants started coming, wanting to rent space on the Indoor Market side.
“We’re trying to make this work, career-wise,” said Cathy.
“It’s turned out well,” said L.A. “Right now, we’re 85 percent full on stall rentals.”
The Indoor Market offers L.A. and Cathy a way to diversify, to add more variety to the store. If you’re not looking for a 19th century wood-burning heater, but, say, a pair of sunglasses, some sports memorabilia, a paperback, or a used video game, then you can find it, thanks to
the other vendors.
“People like to come in when the merchants are in,” said L.A. “If they’re at their tables, you can haggle with them. If not, you just have to pay upfront for the listed price.”
“One week you’re selling a lot of one, next week it’s the other,” said Cathy. “Or we’ll have something on the floor for months, then as soon as it sells five other people come in looking for it.”
While The Barn doesn’t buy or sell clothing, it is willing to look at most anything else, whether that means planning a house call or looking at what you have brought with you in the parking lot. What they find they can’t use, they donate to KC’s Thrift Shop a few stores over or Goodwill.
“We have to set up house call appointments in advance,” said L.A. “But I go all over: Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama.”
The Barn and Indoor Market is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.
More information, including stall rentals and house call appointments: Call (229) 560-2341; or visit the website, www.thebarnandindoormarket.com