Salt of the Earth: An Interview with Patti Wheeler

July 23, 2013 in Editorials

In the heart of Atlanta, every second weekend of the month, you can attend Scott Antique Markets, located at the Atlanta Expo Centers. There you’ll find a maze of antique treasures, with 3,500 exhibit booths and a wide host of unique, interesting vendors from around the world, most of whom are always willing to share a story and their expertise. One such vendor is Patti Wheeler. Though she makes her home in Georgia, Patti is originally from Louisiana. She also travels as a hobby, and has visited all seven continents to date!

Patti started selling at Scott Antique Markets in January of 2001 with a partner. In 2005 she bought out a vintage costume jewelry dealer and has been hooked ever since. “The reason I got started selling in Scott’s is that I was shopping there every month to furnish my house.” Patti revealed. “When I moved to Georgia and built a house, I needed to find good, unique furniture, chandeliers and decorative items. As I became a regular buyer from some of the dealers and I enjoyed the atmosphere and excitement of the show, it was a natural occurrence of events to become a dealer. Even after 12 years of selling in Scott Antique Markets, the thrill of the show is still there.”

When asked what she loves most about vintage costume jewelry, Patti answered, “I love the hunt and pursuit of it and the interaction with people buying costume jewelry; the reason being, people mainly buy jewelry for happy things.” Patti went on to say in particular, she often deals with brides and their mothers looking for unique jewelry for their weddings. But brides aren’t the only ones looking for special jewelry. Patti remembers one necklace that was bought by a U.S. Congresswoman and worn to a luncheon at the White House with Michelle Obama! These little stories and histories of how people wore the jewelry is another highlight for Patti, who is always ready to hear her customer’s stories of how they wore their jewelry.

After more than a decade of selling at the Scott Antique Markets, and even more years of shopping there, Patti has a lot of things she loves about this particular market. At the top of this list is the camaraderie with the other dealers. “It’s like a family, it really is,” she gushed. “Everybody’s selling something different, and you can learn so much about our country, our history and people just by talking to them.” Patti herself is well known amongst the other dealers and repeat customers, known as “the Hat Lady.” She makes a point of wearing a different hat each month, and customers and dealers alike love to give their opinions on them; many of them look forward to see what Patti will wear next.

Along with the friendships she has built during her time at Scotts, Patti also likes how Scott Antique Markets is run. “I love the fact that we don’t open until 12:45 on Thursday. It gives us time to eat, go to the bathroom, shop and visit,” she said. Having that bit of time to herself before the building is flooded with customers is invaluable, since Patti remains busy most of the rest of the day. The air conditioning in the building is also a plus. Not all shows have it, and in the hot summer months it certainly makes things more comfortable.

Like every second weekend, Patti can be found in her booth, Salt of the Earth, in the South Building of the Atlanta Expo Centers. Be sure to stop by and she what unique pieces she has brought with her and see the new hat she’s wearing. For more information on Scott Antique Markets, visit or call 740-569-2800.

by Tiffany Metzger

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