Within an eight-block radius, shoppers can find weathered barn wood turned into everything from festively warm greeting signs to shabby chic furniture.

They can pick up stained glass table lamps, expertly refinished tables and wheel covers from classic cars. An antique desk has been resurfaced with an old-time map. A 200-year-old slant desk testifies to the quality of American workmanship.

Tea sets, old toys, handmade dolls and well-worn rocking horses are displayed in nooks and corners already packed with items.

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Along Franklin’s main downtown corridor, a group of businesses have arisen catering to the increasingly popular world of vintage, upcycled and primitive goods. Each shop takes a slightly different take on antiques, oddities and relics.

The strip has become a one-stop shopping experience for people looking for one-of-a-kind items repurposed from the past, and people from all over the Midwest are starting to take notice.

“We have power in numbers. With the number of stores that we have, Franklin has really become such a destination for shoppers,” said Jennifer McAlpin, owner of Vintage Whimsy. “The more of this the better, even if it’s similar, because this is the stuff that so many people want. People can come to Franklin and get their fill here.”

“It’s amazing the people who come in here have commented on Franklin itself, how it’s becoming a destination place,” said Dianne Colquitt, owner of Junkey Monkeys. “It’s almost like a little Nashville.”

In the past decade, interest in vintage and antique home decor has been the rage. Terms like “upcycling” and “repurposed” have become some of the most searched terms on the Internet, according to Google Trends.

The designs of yesteryear are in high demand, even if it’s morphed and combined with modern products.

“In today’s society, everybody wants to do it themselves. But if they can’t do it themselves, they want that look,” said Nicole Nicoloff, who owns Marshmallow Monkey with her husband, Brandon. “They want that Pottery Barn look at a Pinterest price.”

To help local residents and out-of-town visitors find the best deals, the most unique pieces and the perfect fit for their homes, the Daily Journal has visited each shop. Happy hunting.


Where: 102 W. Jefferson St.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Owner: Beth Crousore

Information: shopsimplify.com

What sets them apart: “We have 12 local artists right now, who make everything handcrafted. There are lots of gifts items, and then we do chalk-type paint, a water-based paint that’s supremely adhesive. It goes onto almost anything without needing to prime or sand. It’s a one-step paint. We retail it and paint furniture here. We focus on solid-wood pieces and lots of antiques. Anything you can paint, we paint.” — manager Tabetha Brock

Thanks for the Thyme

Where: 396 E. Jefferson St.

Hours: 10:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Owner: Jo Jurgensen

Information: 736-9866

What sets them apart: “We kind of have a co-op here. Different ladies will come to bring things in. So when we decorate, we don’t decorate with the booth space. We decorate more so it’s homey, one where you can see how a particular piece would fit into your decor. We like the old, well-used, well-loved items from eras past. Hopefully, it’ll jump into people’s hands.” — Jurgensen

Salvage Sisters

Where: 398 E. Jefferson St.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday

Owner: Julie Stewart

Information: 736-4353

What sets them apart:

“We have a sisterhood here, with all of the different vendors. We have a lot of painted items at the store, and we try to have a variety of everything. Shabby chic is a big part of what we do.” — Alicia Mitchell-Sweet, employee and vendor

Curly Willow

Where: 498 E. Jefferson St.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Owners: Tom and Diane Strack

Information: 346-0033

What sets them apart: “We handle primitives, meaning it was something that was handmade, not manufactured. We also do antiques, anything over 100 years old. Most other places are going to painted furniture, with a new coat of paint on it. The stuff here, this is mostly all original paint. We do a lot with the old crocks, with some of these.” — Dennis Hardin, employee

The Marshmallow Monkey

Where: 436 E. Jefferson St.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Owners: Brandon and Nicole Nicoloff

Information: themarshmallowmonkey.com

What sets them apart:

“Customer experience, customer service and unique items. We try really hard to locate new home decor, tabletop home decor, that’s really unique that you can’t go to a local big-box store and find. We have partnered with a company out of Wisconsin for our soy-based candles. They tend to give off the fragrance during the whole burn of the candle, and we change up the scents during the seasons. We’re also known for our unique floral arrangements, one-of-a-kind arrangements from everything to everyday bouquets to holidays to weddings.” — Brandon Nicoloff

Vintage Whimsy

Where: 462 E. Jefferson St.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday

Owners: Jennifer McAlpin

Information: vintage-whimsy.com

What sets them apart: “We’re pretty eclectic. We just have a big variety of vintage and antiques, some painted pieces. Our name is Vintage Whimsy, so there are a lot of whimsical items in the shop. We love having statement pieces of furniture, that aren’t your everyday color, they’re vibrant and more of a statement piece. We have a guy who makes signs that are lighted, using repurposed materials for that.” — McAlpin

Junkey Monkeys

Where: 383 E. Madison St.

Hours: 10:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday

Owner: Dianne Colquitt

Information: facebook.com/junkeymonkeys

What sets them apart:

“We have about 20 different vendors in here, and it goes anywhere from mid-century modern pieces to industrial pieces to repurposed. Every vendor has their own special touch. We opened in August, and I’ve always been crafty, using my own touches in my home decorating. I wanted to be able to offer other things that people could offer in their homes.” — Colquitt

Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.