Richard and Teresa Keller are the owners of a delightful little shop named “Picker’s Place.” Walking into the store felt like going home. Teresa met me with a bright smile and twinkling eyes. Richard is friendly, open, and clearly proud of his collection. From vintage items to antiques, there’s plenty to look at and enjoy in this well-lit store.
There are dishes, tables, chairs, a gorgeous dressing table with a mirror, lamps, artwork, and even old horseshoes. Everywhere I turn my head, there’s something new to see, something new to love, something to take home. Richard and Teresa love the people who visit their store more than they love antiques.
DT: “What is it about antiques? Why this?”
RK: “It’s fun. I mean, we’re both retired. We could sit home and look at each other all day or come up here and meet people and talk. Of course, we like to sell stuff, but we don’t care if they buy it or not. Most of the time we get to talking to the folks that come in, and we have to stop so they can go look around. That’s one of my favorite things.”
TK: “We’re not doing it to make a living. This is something for us to do.”
DT: “What happens when new customers come in?”
RK: “Well, we try to be friendly to them. Sometimes they come in and look like you’re running a race. They run to the [back of the] store, come back to the front as fast as they can. They hardly speak. “
TK: “I told one of them, you better take your time. There’s going to be a quiz.”
And what a quiz that would be! There are too many interesting things to miss if one hurries through the store. The way Picker’s Place is nicely arranged, a leisurely stroll is almost required to take everything in. Smaller items are lovingly placed aesthetically on larger items throughout the space.
Richard began his antique adventure in the 1980s. A little over a decade ago he joined the Blackstone Antique Mall, running four stalls. When Teresa retired, they expanded their operation. They opened Picker’s Place on September 1, 2016.
RK: “I went to auction sales, which they don’t have any more around here. I had a little shop up at Clay’s Hatchery back in the 80s. That’s the first time I got into it retail, until we opened up at the mall.
DT: “Teresa, how did you get involved with it?”
TK: “I love it. I had to learn a lot. We started at the antique mall because we love cruising and that was the way to make money to cruise. That’s what we did with the money we made there.”
RK: “And you know, it’s cool because we enjoy doing that. We enjoy going to sales together.”
TK: “Me and my friend Linda decided we would get a space and we did.We had so much fun with that space. And then eventually she got her own and I got mine and it just kind of went from there.”
DT: “So where do you find the pieces that you’re selling in the store now?”
RK: “Everywhere. Mostly the estate sales.”
DT: “And do you go antiquing? When my husband and I were dating, we were always going up to Skyline Drive and finding the little hole-in-the-wall places.”
RK: “We don’t travel that far. Anytime we go somewhere and we come back the vehicle is packed full.
TK: “Yeah. We took our granddaughter to Florida for her 7th birthday. And when we came back, there was just a little space left in the back, just for her.”
DT: “What are some of the most popular things that you find going out of your store?”
RK: “Right now? Mostly small stuff. Furniture’s not moving real well, although there’s a Hoosier cabinet on layaway. I just let her sit in there for right now.”
As I “ooh” and “aah” over the Hoosier cabinet and we discuss the piece on layaway, a customer walks in. Although I warn her that we’re recording an interview, she happily joins in the conversation, undeterred.
“I’m a newcomer. I’m going to be typical of what’s coming. I fled Richmond two years ago. A lot of people have been doing it. That was before the pandemic and crime down there and a not very nice lifestyle. And I think people are going to flee the cities and come to places like this.”
As our conversation winds down, Teresa points out a sign that says, “There’s no greater compliment than return customers. Thank you for being one.”
With an inventory that’s continually changing and owners who are genuinely friendly and welcoming, I plan on paying that compliment often.