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Me-Me's Family Attic lures thrifty customers

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Drawn by the smell of $3-a-pot boiled peanuts, or the sight of fresh produce and various curios, residents of the Jonesboro area often find themselves at Me-Me's Family Attic.

Tucked away at 9625 South Main Street in Jonesboro, the quaint emporium features a number of rare and/or unusual objects from both near and far.

Until recently, Gail O'Brien, owner of the antique shop, had spent 30 years in the wholesale flower business. The Conley resident, originally from Dahlonega, began operating the business about six weeks ago, after purchasing it from a previous owner, who had operated the shop for several years.

"[The previous owner] was closed a lot because her mother was sick," O'Brien said. "People are seeing that I am open on a regular basis, and things are starting to pick up a lot. I think your thrift store places are doing better than your new stores. With this business, it's easier for them [customers] to buy things, because it's not brand new."

While most of the shop's items are "gently used," according to O'Brien, many of them are rarely-seen objects acquired through estate sales.

Among the unique and hard-to-find-items are: A lifetime collection of various metal trivets; a wall of 1930s-era "Depression" glass; a dresser full of Elvis Presley collectibles; century-old German furniture; decorative beer steins from places such as Germany, China, and Tennessee; a wide collection of oil lamps, including whale oil lamps used by Alaskan Inuit tribes; stacks of collectible Coca-Cola bottles; a Stromberg Carlson, 1950s-era, console-model television, complete with a decorative wooden casing, a built-in record player, and an AM/FM radio.

The shop also has a number of modestly priced gifts and collectibles, including purses, trinket boxes, electronics, tools, and lawn equipment.

"I love old dishes," O'Brien said. "That's my weakness. I have enough dishes for everybody.

"A lot of times, when you buy an estate, you get what that person collected their whole life," she added. "It's amazing to see what you'll find."

Michael Veitch, O'Brien's friend and a volunteer at the shop, said finding the items at various yard and estate sales is, sometimes, the most fun part of the job. "It's kind of like treasure hunting," Veitch said. "A lot of things go out of here that I've never seen before.

"You find out if someone had a weird sense of humor," he said. "sYou'll see something that reminded you of what you had when you were a kid ... it brings back simpler times.

"I admire the craftsmanship of some of the things built back then," Veitch said. "Some of the dressers [at the shop] have been around for 70 to 100 years. A lot of that stuff you buy now, won't be around that long."

O'Brien said that in front of the shop, she also tried to attract customers with various Georgia-grown products and specialties, such as boiled peanuts and Vidalia onions. She hopes to eventually offer other produce, such as peaches and tomatoes.

"I'm enjoying it," she said of her work at the shop. "A lot of people can't afford to buy new stuff. I feel like I am helping people."

For more information, call (404) 226-5679.