Dennis Tomlinson plans to open what he envisions as a general store of sorts at the corner of Cheshire Bridge and LaVista Roads in the former Ace Hardware. The as yet unnamed new store will be a little bit of everything and has been in the works since January. The space, roughly 7000 square feet, will be part barter, part furniture re-finishing and is nearly 100% repurposed or reused materials, aside from three newly installed windows in the front of the space.
Tomlinson is friends with Paul Brown at Gallery 63 in Sandy Springs as well as Rick Dale of Las Vegas-based Rick's Restorations. Brown's Gallery 63 is featured in Auction Kings on the Discovery Channel while Rick Dale and his restoration business are featured on the hit History Channel show American Restoration. Tomlinson tells me that he has been contacted by the History Channel about the possibility of a show and that this new store will give him the space to possibly do a show in the future.
Personally I'm a fan of stores like this, and am eagerly anticipating the opening. I like the fact that Tomlinson is anti-pawn shop as he sees them as a predatory business and says it's like their "kicking someone while they're already down." Tomlinson's shop will take in just about anything from anyone so long as there is value and he sees a market for it. Got a "this," and want a "that,"? Bring it in and he'll make a deal.
Tomlinson's recent businesses have been related to the restoration and resale of motorcycles at his shop in Chamblee though he also has experience with eBay as well as furniture restoration, and also recalls having built some of the first Taco Bell and KFC restaurants in the south. Basically, Tomlinson is a jack of all trades and by his own admission, is a collector of everything.
The store is basically fully stocked already, according to Tomlinson. He's been collecting for years and says among other things, vintage gas pumps, coke machines and motorcycles will be for sale or trade.
On a recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina, I came across a store similar to what Tomlinson is opening called Treasure Hunters. The store, located in Biltmore Square Mall, was a smorgasbord of stuff, with signs posted stating "we buy and sell anything of value." Tomlinson's store will be similar, but he plans to have it be a trading post of sorts, with things of more value than the cups and silverware I saw being hawked in Asheville.
It's likely the store will be named something along the lines of "One Stop Shop,"and if successful, Tomlinson hopes to expand into the adjacent former Happy Herman's space, another 7,000 square feet. This space would be dedicated to higher end merchandise, he says, wheras the the Ace space will be more general merchandise. The current space will receive a vintage looking mural on the LaVista Road side and the Cheshire Bridge entrance will come to resemble a fire station.
Store one has been a labor of love since the lease was signed in January, and has included many 12 or 14 hour workdays. As of now, the store should open by early November. Tomlinson anticipates opening as many as twenty additional stores in the coming years, in smaller towns outside of Atlanta.