Warehouse 23 Celebrates First Christmas Open House

October 31, 2017 in Editorials

Athens, Tenn., welcomes another new shop, Warehouse 23, located at 306 Congress Pkwy/Hwy. 11, and this store just keeps celebrating. Warehouse 23 just celebrated their grand opening and as the excitement continues, they want to invite everyone to come out to their Christmas Open House on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Owners Chris and Jennifer Miller have worked very hard to make a dream come true. Jennifer is an eighth grade teacher, and wants to be able to grow this new business as she works in it part-time and builds it for their future retirement years. Both Jennifer and Chris are from families who have always had a strong passion for antiques, both picking and collecting. Jennifer’s late father J C Combs Jr. had a booth with two of our retired advertisers, Bill and Karen Mason who owned Madison Square Antique Mall in Athens until their retirement. Jennifer picked with her father as he searched for antiques for his booth, teaching her about antiques.

The Millers decided on the name Warehouse 23 because the number holds very special meaning to them. The previous stores were both warehouses that held feed and grain, vegetables, seed, lumber and supplies, and they will carry on the tradition with their huge variety of merchandise. The number 23 first represented the date when they met; they were both 23 when they got married; and Jennifer lost her father on the 23rd, so the name gives honor to his memory.

Jennifer loves the fact that the store building they found had a history; history being one reason they love antiques. The building was first open for business by the Co-op in the early 1950s. Than it became Wiggins Hardware for a very long time, until it closed. Jennifer and Chris have tried to keep the inside as is, with the floors and walls the same. They made necessary repairs, and then divided the space into booths. Like most hardware stores that carried a huge inventory, they too wanted a good variety of merchandise. They hope to find vendors who share their love for history of antiques, and bring folks into the store that remember Wiggins Hardware and the Co-op. With the help of booth owners and and the Millers, customers can reminisce as they browse and shop in Warehouse 23.

To help preserve some of the history, Jennifer has asked local artist Mary Jane Moore to hand paint signs reflecting the character of the building. The Millers have approximately 25 vendors sharing space inside, as well as in the adjoining building that gives them 4,500 square feet of floor space in which they have mastered staging at its best. Throughout Warehouse 23 you will find great vintage vignettes depicting times past, unique spaces with a niche for mixing the old and the new. If you’re looking for something to repurpose or paint, you’ll find some great pieces here as well, and if you want it already painted, they’ve got it. They also have custom made jewelry, one-of-a-kind primitives, custom-made farm house tables and very unique and well made crafts. Much like Wiggins Hardware days, Jennifer said, “We don’t specialize in just anything, because we carry a little bit of everything!”

The Millers are excited about having their first Christmas Open House which will be Saturday, Dec. 2. They invite you to come and there will be refreshments, door prizes and lots of sales. There will be beautiful Christmas florals and wreaths, ornaments and lots more. If you remember the former Wiggins Hardware or the Co-op store, and have a special memory, they would like you to write down you memory and bring it in and they would love to share your memories with others as well. If you were never in Wiggins Hardware in Athens, than enjoy making a new memory and let them know how you found their store. We hope you’ll let them know you read about them in The Busy Bee Trader! Warehouse 23 is open 7 days a week, Mon-Sat 10-6, and Sunday 1-6.

By Maxine Jones, Ocoee, Tennessee