Randy Smotherman has been in the antique business for 42 years. He loves the way old things all have a story to tell. At his antique shop, Smotherman’s Antiques, in Murfreesboro, he has a variety of items spanning decades. Smotherman’s Antiques is an old-style shop dealing in items ranging from $10 to $10,000. If you’re looking for something mid-century, or a unique gift or you simply love odd items, he’s got it!
“I’ve sold a lot of strange things,” said Smotherman. “I mean some strange things. One of the strangest was a giant foot. It was eight feet high and seventeen feet long. I have also bought and sold antique coffins. Currently, I have a scale model tug boat that is fully functioning.”
The tug boat has two barges and it is all aluminum. It is nine feet long, and is remote controlled. It was built by a gentleman who worked for a barge company and wanted to share his love of tugs and barges with his children and grandchildren. He would put it in the water and show the kids how they worked. Smotherman hopes to sell it to a restaurant somewhere that is near a river or port.
He also has antique bicycles, railroad lanterns, military items from the Civil War to WWII, and much, much more.
One thing that Smotherman really loves is furniture from the plantation era that pre-date the Civil War. These include sugar chests, Jackson presses, and hunt boards. He loves the fine craftsmanship and the beauty of the wood.
According to the Tennessee Encyclopedia, “The most distinguishable Tennessee forms [of furniture] include the sugar chest and the Jackson press. The sugar chest was developed to safeguard large quantities of sugar, a commodity of great value. Fairly simple in design, a sugar chest consisted of a large wooden storage bin set on legs. The majority of chests featured a small drawer below the bin. Since only the most affluent nineteenth-century households could afford sugar in bulk, a sugar chest was a status symbol displayed in public areas of the home like the dining room.”
“I really like the sideboard I have in the shop that was made by hand by Captain James Hicks from Nashville,” said Smotherman. “It was made of cherry wood in 1815. Its mate is in the Tennessee State Museum. I got it from the Weems family.”
Smotherman is now getting into trading in antique cars and hot rods. He has purchased a 5,000 square-foot building in Manchester where he runs his car business. However, two are available at his Murfreesboro location, an MG and a Mustang.
The antique business has changed a lot in the last ten years, as those in their twenties and thirties generally have very little interest in old things, the exception is Mid-Century Modern furniture, steampunk items, and vintage gas station memorabilia. Smaller items are harder to pinpoint, interests are all over the place. A few of the smaller items that are popular right now are cameras from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The kind with the bellows.
Plated silver is out, but sterling silver is still a favorite, especially over the holidays. As far as gifts go, Smotherman recommends sterling silver pieces or antique jewelry for women and pocket watches for men.
316 North Front Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Hours: Friday, 10:30 am until 4:00 pm
Saturday, 10:30 am until 2:00 pm
Closed Sunday through Thursday