Vintage South sells one of a kind pieces and repurposed antiques
By Denise K. James Photos by Lea Austen
A few years ago, Tim King could not open the door to his antique workshop in Summerville without beckoning the interest of passersby. Since its beginning, Vintage South, run by Tim and his wife, Cindy King, has become a destination for locals who seek something a little special and different for their homes.
According to Tim and Cindy, what began as their own interest in repurposing antiques eventually became a thriving business. They run the business with as much passion as ever, enjoying trips to other cities and bringing back heaps of treasure for the local market. The couple describes themselves as being “semi-retired, with a unique work, play and live” philosophy, since they live on-site in an apartment they converted from office space in the warehouse.
The couple said that one of their most exciting finds was a mid-1800s blacksmith pub sign with the original hanger. The sign was half-buried in the mud of a horse pen near Florence, SC. Another great find was four pairs of train depot doors from the 1890s. Three sets have found new homes in Charleston restaurants, while the fourth is going to Georgia.
“Tim and I both pick out the merchandise,” Cindy pointed out. “We’re like the people on that television show American Pickers. We go to different places—for example, the huge flea market in Brimfield, Massachusetts—and we’ll bring a twenty-six foot truckload back!
“How often we scout [in other cities and states] just depends,” she added. “Our items end up all over the region, in all kinds of places, from restaurants to homes. Just the other day we delivered some pieces to The Codfather in North Charleston. We are business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer.”
As experts in getting fans excited to view the “new to you” pieces, the Kings store their most recent findings in a nearby 2,400 square-foot space that is not open to the public until the time comes to proudly display them in the store. Cindy admitted that she likes to bring items from storage into the warehouse every week. Antique & salvage enthusiasts can follow along on the Vintage South Facebook page, where Cindy posts the latest finds every Thursday evening.
Since the early days of Vintage South, the Kings have learned a lot from their clientele. Though Tim used to specialize in the customization of antique pieces, the couple soon discovered that folks would rather act on their own ideas.
“We find that people now like to do their own thing,” Cindy remarked. “Pinterest, of course, has been a big inspiration. Customers find something they like and want to repurpose it themselves. They might, for example, find a vintage dresser and want to paint it or turn it into a bathroom vanity.”
According to Tim, today’s shoppers also favor useful items—not trinkets that will sit around and collect dust. “While our parents and our mothers collected anything from thimbles to glassware, people now want practical items, not just collectors’ items. So that’s what we look for. People will take their flat screen televisions and put them on a blueprint cabinet that matches their décor,” he explained.
Both Tim and Cindy are adamant about encouraging fans to follow the Facebook page for new items—and say it’s best to snag it soon if something suits your style. After all, Vintage South offers one-of-a-kind finds, and it’s likely that it won’t be there later if you elect to think on it.
“It’s a treasure hunt every day!” Cindy remarked.
But the Kings agree that the “wow” factor is well worth it for the homeowner who buys with passion and spontaneity.
“People don’t want other people to walk into their homes and say, ‘Oh, you got that at a large furniture store,’” Tim declared. “They want guests to walk in and say, ‘Where did you get that?’” 843-771-9938.