The Refindery on McCallie

December 27, 2015 in Editorials

The Refindery on McCallie Makes Downtown Chattanooga Home

 Chattanooga, Tenn., recently welcomed The Refindery on McCallie to the downtown Highland Park area. The Refindery is located at 1300 McCallie, (corner of Holtzclaw and McCallie), in the historic 1910 original building that the Chattanooga Blow Piping was founded. This building was home to the Architectural Exchange business for more than 10 years, and its owner Anna Roberts, has retained a large booth with a huge variety of industrial and architectural inventory within the new store.

Owners of The Refindery on McCallie are Rick and Carol Ellis and Joseph Oliver (known as Oliver to all) and Mandy Oaks. Even though these four have opened a new business, they’re all far from new to the business. Rick and Carol Ellis have just about lived and breathed antiques and primitives since childhood, and continue to appreciate and collect their favorite things. I found it interesting that Rick not only loves large equipment, farm and industrial items, but also has a large 1945 bull dozer that was used in the military and now has a nice resting place at his home. Carol loves and appreciates what Rick collects as much as she does her own finds. She will be happy to show you the 1963 Carol 600 Mazda that is on display at The ReFindery. Rick’s father bought it from a co-worker who had returned from the service. The gentleman had the Mazda shipped from Japan to California, then drove it to Chattanooga where Mr. Ellis purchased it for his children to drive around on their property. Rick shares many memories about the car, as well as the rustic furniture and other family heirlooms they love.

Carol Ellis likes old crocks, primitives and antique furniture. She looks for the unusual pieces that will fit any space or home. She recently added a vintage barber chair to their booth, and you’ll also find one of their favorite finds – a primitive cabinet that used to belong to NAPA Auto Store that is wood outside and metal inside. Rick and Carol may have some ‘old motorcycle’ memorabilia in their booths as well.

Mandy and Joseph Oliver share a lot of interest as well. They love the industrial and architectural finds, and especially the design of their building. When you visit, I know you’ll love the nostalgic brick walls and the wood beams and metal that is so fitting to the original use of the building. It is fascinating itself and Oliver has enjoyed opening up new areas for rent and amazed to find different pieces of history throughout. He loves mid-century modern, as well as industrial, and looks for metal cabinets and tables, huge pulleys and engineered items, large doors and windows and casings. He looks for wood and metal combined items that could be built right into new homes and retreats or businesses, as well as decor from the 1960s and ‘70’s. Joseph Oliver, a former owner/partner of Ringgold Feed & Seed Antiques, looks for things that can be salvaged from older homes and buildings coming down. He is constantly bringing new loads of industrial doors, shelving, large signage, lighting, wood and metal cabinets, engineered designed items from industrial buildings and much more to fill their shelves.

Mandy Oaks loves French Country and primitives. She looks for what’s trendy and some retro. Focusing on the young college-age buyers, she carries large sofas and trendy tables and such and makes a point to look for things they ask about. Sometimes it may be retro or painted or good for repurposing. Mandy has another interesting business called Heirlooms Vintage Rental; she rents and puts together staging for vintage weddings. She and Oliver’s wedding rentals is the largest covering areas between Chattanooga to Atlanta, Atlanta to Knoxville and back to Chattanooga. You will be able to call upon them for Heirloom Wedding Rentals at The Refindery on McCallie by early January.

Oliver has been in the custom frame business for a number of years as well as antiques. You’ll be able to visit The ReFindery and select the type of wood and custom style, the moldings and matt boards, then Oliver will put together any size or style of frame you need.

The ReFindery has already filled up with not only the owner’s booths, but 43 other vendors with huge assortment of items. There is definitely something for everyone, no matter what your taste or collection might be. You may find it located in their approximate 15,000 square feet of space. Since their November opening, they have filled every available booth, but will be glad to put you on their waiting list. They require their vendors to meet a criteria – 80% of their booth must be either antiques, vintage, mid-century modern, industrial, primitive, up-cycled or handmade or a combination of these. Twenty percent may be a little this or that; depending on what they like and what they feel will sell.

Mandy and Oliver and Carol and Rick want to thank the Highland Park Neighborhood in Chattanooga for making them feel very welcome. This Historic District in Chattanooga has been restoring and renovating it’s 75-100-year-old and older homes and bringing new businesses to the downtown Chattanooga area for the last 15-plus years. The Highland Park Neighborhood Association welcomes you to contact them if you are interested or know of anyone looking for a historic home or building to renovate for a business, go to their web site at or Wikipedia wiki Highland Park Chattanooga.

The owners at The Refindery thank you for helping to make their first couple months a success and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Be sure to let them know you first read about them in The Busy Bee Trader.

by Maxine B Jones, Ocoee, Tennessee