River Mill Antiques

December 28, 2014 in Editorials

If your next winter excursion is taking you in the direction of Pigeon Forge, Townsend, or Gatlinburg, Tenn., you need to stop off in Walland at the River Mill Antique, Etc. just outside of the Maryville city limits at 4618 East Lamar Alexander Pkwy. Debe Campbell, owner of River Mill Antiques, Etc. insists that you plan on several hours shopping with them. You see, once you visit River Mill, you’ll most likely want to come back by when you leave the Smokies to return home. Even the location and view calls you back to this big yellow house in the country.

The porch is neat and full of antiques and primitives that are ever changing as folks from all over the country stop to check out the interesting grouping of antiques. Once inside, you’ll find the store is filled wall-to-wall with so many interesting antiques and collectibles from primitives to the latest in vintage wedding decor.

When Debe Campbell bought out the store in June of 2014, she decided they were going to be adding more and more to its already long list of antiques and collectibles, so she added the “Etc.” to the name River Mill Antiques. Debe said the “etc.” represents the talented crafters she welcomes at the store with their unique and one-of-a-kind handmade items.

She is adding her own line of vintage wedding selections for rental. Debe is a consultant and can plan your entire wedding in three hours. She will give you a list of everything you need for outdoors or inside, and rent them all to you from the special area she’s set aside in this 8,000 square foot shop. That includes vintage wedding attire to ball jars, bottles, center pieces, lighting, “etc” that is being used for weddings now all over the country. As Debe states, “I can take them from the front door sign-in book to the bubbles as they leave.” Debe has traveled from New York to Nashville, giving consultations and planning weddings.
Campbell intends to keep it 85% antiques and 15% will be the unique items that are the “etc”. Campbell says she comes from a family who has admired, loved and collected antiques forever. The dealers are like family and are always ready to help the customers or Debe.

I have had the opportunity to meet several of them who travel from Virginia and all over the Southeast to have a booth at River Mill. I have enjoyed meeting and talking to Wendy Gibson who assists Debe and may be the only one who does not have a booth there. I also had the pleasure to talk with Charlene Smith, and I found we had a lot in common – we collect or have collected everything! Joe, Glen, and Phil have all helped me over the last year as I have browsed and shopped with them. Last month, Joe was excited to show me his latest find, a huge 75-gallon copper kettle that is Pennsylvania Dutch and most likely was used for making apple butter.

I was amazed at the beautiful late 1800s server/buffet that was 5’ 6” X 7’2” and had been in the same family for over 50 years when it was brought to the shop. River Mill may have one of the largest antique cookie jar collections in East Tennessee, as well as featuring a big collection of antique and vintage toys, large, small and miniature.  There’s a collection of sweet Hummel’s and other figurines, which they have noticed folks are collecting again.

Upstairs there are numerous booths, and Debe has a special deal with all her dealers. They all can place an item in each of the areas that are staged to focus on a different era and type of decor that was popular during the period. There’s a primitive booth, nostalgic booth, one for retro items, another for Asian, and one that has a variety of collectibles like pottery, books, dolls, etc. There is a booth that designer and seamstress Sasha Gregor keeps a good variety of beautiful apparel for dolls of all sizes and models. She has accessories as well, and all for very reasonable prices.

Debe has dealers who specialize in Pigeon Forge, Shawnee and Cash Family Pottery. There are numerous pieces of china, so you may not need to look for your replacement online. Campbell and the dealers at River Mill, Etc. are already gathering great architectural and gardening treasures to bring in for spring.

That’s why you want to check them out again and again. You never know what you may find that needs to be in your own back yard. Check our directory days and times of opening, and be sure to let them know you read about them in the Busy Bee Trader.

By Maxine B. Jones, Ocoee, Tennessee

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