Big Al’s New to Dayton

June 23, 2017 in Editorials


This story on a new shop in Dayton, Tenn., would have been very fitting for June’s Fathers Day issue. When I met Jeff Hill, I could tell right away he had mixed emotions about he and his brother Ray’s new shop. The shop is located at 611 2nd Avenue inside a warehouse, just a short distance from the Historic Rhea County Court House if you go west and across the railroad tracks on 2nd Street.

The name of the store is Big Al’s Warehouse – Antiques, Collectibles and Cool Stuff! Jeff explained how their store got the name Big Al’s. Jeff said they went picking with their dad for antiques, collectibles, old and just cool stuff ever since they were young boys, and when their dad passed away in June 2016, it was devastating. After much grieving, Jeff said he decided he wanted to continue doing what their dad had taught him. He already having a good start of cool stuff to sell, and finding a place to sell what they picked was something both he and his brother could do to honor their dad. So naming it for Alvin Hill who was called “Big Al” by all who knew him, was perfect, and opening close to Father’s Day, although, bittersweet, was fitting as well.

Jeff and Ray divided the warehouse into sections for booths and started renting spaces right away. It filled so fast, they are already planning for an expansion in the future. The booths are very nicely staged with walls and dividers that are unique. Some have metal walls and shelves, and some are very rustic with repurposed wood and ship lap. My favorite are beautiful large all natural wood shelves that are repurposed from the headboards from the Chattanooga  Choo Choo. It’s amazing how unique and creative each vendor has displayed their merchandise, with it complementing the products within. When you shop, you may want to use a few of their ideas to decorate and display in a room of your own, and purchase some of the décor you find there to take with you.

Jeff, Ray and the vendors at Big Al’s have a great variety of collectibles, vintage and antiques. You will find the rare Gomel Friar Tuck Monks for one example. There’s some French Country and Italian framed art and prints; Asian dishes, beautiful glassware, china sets, brown ware pottery, sport memorabilia, Pyrex and Fire King, signage, retro and antique furniture, kitchenware and a few guitars and other musical instruments. For the serious collector, there’s Star Wars collectibles, as well as arrowheads. There’s a special wall where they focus on the upcoming events and for July, they’ve hung framed America flag art and other patriotic décor that represents Independence Day. There’s much too much to list, so you must visit to appreciate it all.

Jeff and Ray invite you to visit them when you come to Dayton for the upcoming Scopes Re-enactment and Festival July 15-23. They’re preparing with very full booths, and you’ll see why they say they have something for everyone! Even the kids love to shop with mom and dad once they’ve been inside.
Big Al’s is open Wednesday thru Saturday 10 to 5. If you live in the Rhea County area, I know you’ve heard of Jeff and Ray Hill. Ray is a retired teacher from Rhea County High School, and is currently owner of Ray Hill Auctions in Evansville, Tenn., just north of Dayton. Jeff is president of Dayton Little Eagles football program and assistant coach for Dayton City School. He is also approaching 28 years in law enforcement with the City of Dayton. Getting together and going picking is a great way for them to spend time together when they’re not working; and Jeff is always looking for Coca Cola bottles while he says Ray looks for anything! They both look forward to having you visit their new store, and be sure to tell them you read about it in the Busy Bee Trader.

By Maxine Jones, Ocoee, Tennessee