With 20,000 square feet filled with 65 dealers, Black Bear offers cabin & traditional furnishings, artwork, accessories, garden, lamps, chandeliers, jewelry, collectibles, candles & gifts.
A great place to spend a rainy day or search for that something oh-so special.
Treasure Abounds at Black Bear Antiques
Are you searching for elusive vintage baseball cards, early 20th-century tools, handcrafted Amish furniture or a giant bronze black bear? If you are driving on the Georgia Mountain Parkway 515 through Ellijay, the giant bronze bear is hard to miss, but you can actually find all of these things and thousands more at Black Bear Antiques and Interiors on Old Orchard Square in Ellijay. With more than 50 dealers and 20,000 treasure-packed square feet, this amazing venue attracts discerning collectors, bargain hunters, and a growing number of creative DIY types who can look at a dark old granny cupboard and imagine what it can become with a little paint.
“We have something for everyone and any budget. Our inventory includes a wide array of elements, small and large, that can work with a range of different decors and tastes—not just cabin or farmhouse styles,” affirms Lynn Asher, longtime manager of this time-honored 12-year-old business. “And we are not just for the ladies. We allow and encourage husbands to come on in and browse,” she adds smiling. “We have knives, old tools, a couple of sports memorabilia sections and some booths which feature items that are especially for men and man caves. The assistant manager, Jacob Padgett, is our resident coin guy. Not only does he help to grow existing collections, he eagerly assists in creating new ones for young collectors. This isn’t the type of assortment that visitors can just breeze through. Often, someone will step in just to check us out or pass some time and end up spending several hours or a whole day milling around looking at all the merchandise.”
In addition to the vintage items and cabin/farmhouse accessories, Black Bear offers a popular selection of Amish-built log furniture, distinct, locally handcrafted pieces, and wood slabs for the do-it-yourselfer. Some of their repeat customers say that they’ve furnished most of their homes with items that they’ve found here.
Their dealers work hard to keep their booths stocked with the items that customers are looking for, often trekking, tracking, junking and picking across the country for those coveted harder-to-find primitive and rustic antiques and other unique and unusual stock. Accordingly, they go to estate sales, buy boxed lots and sometimes dig through a lot of junk looking for the best pieces and great deals that they can then pass along to customers. “Our dealers do a phenomenal job of keeping their best-selling items in stock, especially considering many such items become discontinued. They go the extra mile to find comparable pieces to keep the more discriminating customers coming back. Many of our dealers live out of town and some live out of state. So, they are able to find some truly distinctive pieces to bring here. We have had some amazing, one-of-a-kind objects,” says Asher. “Most notably, people still ask about the Beefeater Gin Bar, the 7-foot-tall carved teak Eagle, and, of course, the massive 15-foot-tall bronze bear in front of the store that has become a local landmark.”
As the giant bear out front suggests, Black Bear is naturally home to all things bearish—kitchen towels and other linens, an array of artwork, dishes, do-dads, etc. embellished with bears. “Cabin décor is one of our most popular selections. We sell lots of affordable bear accessories—rugs, pillows, pictures, figurines—and for some reason, moose items are popular, even though there aren’t any actual moose this far south,” Asher notes.
The bear out front has been a constant, but the inventory has changed considerably in the 12 years since they opened. “Our best dealers have learned to adapt to changing trends in our market. We listen to our customers and let the dealers know what they are looking for and help them transform their merchandise to meet the customers’ needs. That’s one of the reasons that we’ve thrived despite competition from a local Walmart.”
And unlike Walmart, at antique malls like Black Bear there is usually not a warehoused backstock of duplicate items waiting to be shelved. As most antique store shoppers and vintage connoisseurs know, the best time to buy something at an antique store is when you see it because there is a good chance that the one-of-a-kind item that delights you won’t be there next time you go back. As seasoned collectors sometimes say, “Nothing haunts us like the antique we didn’t buy.” ACLM
Black Bear Antiques and Interiors
The Ahlers Group
240-B Old Orchard Square
Ellijay, GA 30540-8173
On Highway 515 and Maddox Rd.
In the Ingles Supermarket shopping center
Store Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm; Sunday 12 – 6pm
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