Black Sheep Antiques is loved for its selection of antiques and vintage items
Story by Grace Thornton
Photos by Dawn Harrison
There’s a little building just off U.S. 280 in Harpersville that was built out of rocks during the Great Depression. It’s Barbara Adkins’ happy place.
And she’s hoping it’s a happy place for a lot of other people, too.
“I grew up visiting in Harpersville and have lived there for 25 years now,” Adkins said. “The building has always appealed to me because of its history.”
So in 2014, she bought it and renovated it, thinking it would be a great place to store the antiques she sold as part of her on-the-road business.
But it wasn’t long before Black Sheep Antiques “evolved” into a store — and a destination — all its own. The place is hopping on the weekends — the only time it’s open during the week — with mostly out-of-town customers.
“It occurred to me that I might get some traffic off of 280,” she said, but she hadn’t done any market research. “I should have,” she said, but the shop was meant to just be a storage facility at first, after all.
“I just kind of jumped in, and it’s working,” Adkins said with a laugh. “I got lucky.”
So these days on the weekends, she can be found in the little gray stone shop, chatting with people on their way to Alexander City or Auburn or one of the lakes in the area.
She’s made a lot of friends. But every time they visit, it’s a whole different store.
“When I bring new things in, I redo the whole store,” she said. “I don’t want someone to come in two weekends in a row and it be the same. It’s never the same — it’s constant turnover.”
It’s a labor of love for her and her husband, Sonny.
And redoing the store each week not only makes it look fresh and new but also gives Adkins a much-needed creative outlet, she said. “It’s fun for me — I’m a creative person.”
She puts the same kind of effort into choosing the right pieces to go inside, too.
“I hand-pick every piece that comes into the shop,” she said. “If it doesn’t appeal to me as being well designed, well made and loved in the past, I don’t buy it. It doesn’t matter to me if the piece is a little broken or worse for the wear — to me that gives it heart, character and meaning.”
Adkins spends her weekdays traveling around picking just the right pieces for the shop.
“I don’t carry reproduction items or just order them from the market,” she said. “It takes time and a little bit of travel around the Southeast to find the right things to sell.”
And she hopes that attention to detail — and the fact that the store is only open certain days — just adds to the charm.
“The weekend-only limited hours make it special — or at least I like to think so,” she said with a laugh.
The store is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. But “if a carload of women out on a romp show up during the week, my number is on the door and they can call me and I’ll come let them in,” Adkins said.
The shop also hosts local and regional artists for art shows and other events, such as a book signing with Barbara Westbrook of Atlanta, author of “Gracious Rooms,” on Nov. 14 from 2-5 p.m.
For more information about the shop, visit blacksheepantiquesal.com.