If you are a car guy (or gal) you have likely seen the TV show American Pickers on the History Channel. There are currently two locations; the original in LeClaire Iowa and the newest one in Nashville TN. Since the Nashville store is only a short drive we have visited it several times. The Iowa shop is hundreds of miles further but was on our list of places to visit. Recently we had the opportunity to stop in and see what we could find.
First off, from the TV images and having grown up in Iowa I envisioned the store out on the edge of town and possibly out along some rural highway. On our visit we pulled into a gas station in downtown LeClaire to ask directions. Even with a GPS in rural communities asking directions is often the best solution. As soon as we climbed out of the truck we knew directions were not going to be necessary; there it was directly behind the gas station in downtown!
It was just one more reminder that a camera’s wide angle lens can really changer the perspective of reality. I remember seeing the Beverly Hillbilly’s Beverly Hills mansion in person for the first time. That long curved driveway that looked so impressive was little more than a small looped drive similar to many suburban upscale neighborhoods. Mike and Frank’s store sits just a few feet off a road (more like an alley) behind the gas station with houses directly behind.
Since we had previously visited the Nashville store we had an idea of what to expect and we were not disappointed. There are all kinds of cool stuff, many of which we have seen purchased on their TV show while the “boys” were out picking around the country. Although Katrina and I never said so to each other, we both were looking for some great find of our own at the store to take home for our own collections. Unfortunately, our experience in Iowa matched that of our visit to the Nashville location. Much of what is on display is not for sale.
Depending on your taste there are some neat items with price tags but the really neat stuff is unmarked and not for sale. What is for sale are lots of T-shirts and other items with the “Antique Archeology” logo on them. It is not unlike visiting some strange antique museum with price tags on some of the displays.
The inventory does change and on different visits to the Nashville store we have seen major inventory and display changes so it stays fresh and is never boring. We will be back in Iowa in a month or so and will visit again if time permits.