The Refindery on McCallie Is Expanding Again!

December 29, 2016 in Editorials

The Refindery on McCallie in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., just celebrated their first year, and their success is giving them more to celebrate. They’re working on their second expansion in just over 12 months, and their new vendor space should be open by early spring. Once you visit, you’ll want to be added to their ongoing list for available space.

Owners Rick and Carol Ellis, Mandi Oaks, and Joseph Oliver shared some reasons for the store’s success, as well as their goals for the future. They feel their huge variety of items is what brings their customers downtown, and has them returning again and again. They have not limited their store to one style or era of design. They leave it very open, which attracts vendors that carry everything from mid-century to custom, hand made and designed, to repurposed furniture and décor, and much more.

One of the fastest growing areas of the store is their architectural and industrial section that includes what Oliver calls “house parts”. You’ll find a large area of the building has been designated for antique and vintage windows, doors, door knobs, hinges, moulding, columns, antique and turn-of-the-century light fixtures, stained glass, metal parts, gates and the list continues. Mandi said one of their vendors brings in Egyptian doors and architectural items from Egypt. These and other industrial items have designers coming from Nashville and other towns to find that one unique item to add to a project.

Having vendors with unusual and hard-to-find items has attracted many designers and architects to The Refindery. When they are designing, building, and restoring homes, they have customers who’s styles range from primitive, traditional, French Country, Mid-Century, Tuscan, Gothic, and contemporary. More recent, customers are searching out pillars and columns from the Neoclassic movement which style derived from classical antiquity. You’ll find many architectural items that have come from homes that were built in the early 1800s, all the way to turn-of-the-century and early 1920s and ‘30’s. The Mid Century space has some of Oliver’s favorites. It offers sofas, chairs, lamps, wine cabinets and credenzas and an eclectic mix of smalls from 1960 and ‘70s.

The Refindery has a vendor who carries one of the largest collection of vintage vinyl record albums. He has over 8,000 records in his collection at this time, and just about any artist that’s recorded can be found in this collection. Elvis, The Beatles, Hank Williams, Sr. and Jan & Dean are among a few of the legends you’ll find. This vendor does small record player repair such as needles, speakers and small parts. These players are making a come back since the new reproduction players can easily be found.

refindery-buildingSeveral vendors custom make furniture; others repurpose and paint furniture and décor items. You’ll find hand made farm tables and awesome signage, especially the signs that have been customized with cherished phrases and sentiments. Mandi told me the home show, “Fixer Upper” has had a strong influence on this vendor; she hand designs, cuts out and paints her own art.

Mandi has a passion for vintage clothing and coats, and she has some retro selections and numerous items. Her flannel pieces will certainly be warm for the upcoming winter months. You’ll find softly used boots of many styles, sizes and colors, too!

Carol Ellis loves antique farm items, and her husband Rick is the antique auto enthusiast. They offer a mixed assortment of farm items, equipment and furniture and auto décor. Rick has been known to customize some beautiful love seats from old automobiles.

All four owners feel the store has found its niche, and Mandi said every day and week is an opportunity to grow and do better than the week or month before. That is one of their goals, and they are meeting the challenge. They plan their next month, and work toward it.

When you add a large group of talented and versatile vendors to these amazing owners, the world is their treasure. They bring it to Chattanooga, and it becomes your antique, architectural, industrial and vintage market place. They’re open seven days a week for your shopping pleasure. Gift certificates are available, and they keep an ongoing “want list” to help you find that special treasure.

By Maxine Bean Jones, Ocoee, Tennessee