- [S104] Cocke County, Tennessee, and its People, Cocke County Heritage Book Committee, (Walsworth Publishing, 1992), 271.
- [S124] Brown Funeral Home, Newport, Tennessee, (http://www.newportfunerals.com), 30 Jun 2009.
Wesley Clark Ellison obituary
- [S24] The Newport Plain Talk, (http://www.newportplaintalk.com).
Just Plain Talk: Betty will be back soon Visit these shops for all seasons
(c)2009 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL Aprons are popular and affordable for collectors. This one is from the 1950-60 era and displayed by shop owner Imogene Turner.
Author: David Popiel
February ended its short reign favoring spring over winter, a fish out of water, in our hometown, yearning for more warm days in March. Early vegetables are sitting outside of Newport Hardware for sale.
At least a couple of unexpected things happened last week, but such is life in Newport. Those who knew Tommy Morrow know how uncertain life is, as he died last Tuesday at age 53. My first encounter with him was in the 1970s because Ernie Hartsell was the most popular wrecker service in town and often at crash scenes that I photographed. Tommy, being his son-in-law, was always nearby. Later he became a successful and talented professional truck driver. He was living off Armory Road not far from me. Long-time friend of Tommy's, Hollis Allen, said that after Christmas, Tommy suddenly had a short-term memory problem-he couldn't recall what he had done the day before. Then a couple of weeks ago he required hospitalization, slipped into a coma, and died.
You recall that I planned to visit the Sunset Gap Thrift Shop again to interview my friend, Betty Williams, hoping she would get over her "flu." Her condition got worse because of a kidney infection and she is now in Ft. Sanders Park West, when I chatted with her Friday morning. We talked about the Thrift Shop and her family. Her Mom was Ruth Sisk, married to Bill Bryant. Her mother had been married to D.T. Harper first. Of the children, Timmy Bryant and J.B. Bryant are deceased. The oldest is a regular letter writer in our pages, Greer Carter Bryant. Betty began working for Bob Davis in the mid 1960s at Sunset Gap. She was a young and energetic mom who wanted to be more involved in the community. At the time, the shop was smaller and not called a "Thrift Shop." "We had one phone and when Bob was out of the office we ran a cord out the window and down to the shop," she said. "We did what had to be done." Her husband, David Williams, did construction work for Roy D. Brown and later maintenance at Open Hearth Restaurant before retiring. Betty and David have four children: Duran, married to Melissa; Joanie, married to Steve Marshall; Karen married to Herb Glafenhein; and Sharon Williams. The one I know best is former Cosby School Principal Dr. Duran Williams, who now works for the Tenn. Education Association at Cookeville. The Marshalls live in Sevier; Sharon near Cosby School; Karen and Herb at Pleasant Valley where they operate a microfilm business. The children were practically raised at the Thrift Shop, including grandson, Tyler Williams. Betty says the shop serves an important purpose, more so during the recession, and the pre-school has been valuable, too. While tons of clothing and household goods have been dispensed, more importantly, she and co-worker Tootie Breeden give out love, hugs, kisses, and advice. That has made all the difference. We look for Betty to be back at the Gap soon.
If you've traveled along West Broadway and looked at the row of shops across from Newport Hardware, you've seen a new sign that went up late last year. Before that Debbie Johnson had operated a dress shop. There is something quite different awaiting folks who visit Ace Antiques and Things. I saw their ad in the Plain Talk and finally got around to peaking inside. I was surprised to see Imogene Turner, who many years ago was the topic of a feature done by me back in the 1990s.
Imogene is the public side of the business and her husband, Ailor Turner, is the more retired partner. They live where he was raised at Bat Harbor, the son of Elijah and his wife, the former Evelyn Freshour. Many of you knew him during his long partnership at Broadway Music, a vending and amusement machine operation. His partners included Jay Williford, Claude Sutton, and R.V. Freshour. Ailor got into the business sometime around 1956 and retired in 2005. Imogene was a carhop at Kat's Drive-in (now Debbie's off Hedrick Drive) for three years when she was a teenager. For those who grew up in the 1950s, Kat's was one of the spots to stop for a 15 cent hot dog or 10 cent Coke. Working for Katherine (Kat) Kyker were cooks Mary Overholt and Viola Archer. Imogene remembered that hamburgers were a quarter as were fries and shakes. She grew up in Del Rio but eventually moved to Newport and attended high school here.
At this time, Ailor was a young man with Broadway Music and he frequently stopped at Kat's to change the records on the juke box. He got Imogene's attention by giving her 45 rpm records and buying several milkshakes per day. They were married in 1962. After marriage they moved to his parents' land and eventually they built a house. Over the years they farmed and he continues to keep some black Angus cattle. Their first child was Brian Turner, who is a driver for Old Dominion truck lines. He married Karen Smith of Newport. The younger son is Scotty, who lives at Rockhill, South Carolina, and is married to Shawna. They operate greenhouses, a nursery, and flower shop. Best of all they have the first Turner grandson, Eli, born about five months ago.
After the boys got old enough, Imogene was ready to go back to work and spent time at the tomato packing house at Denton. She missed the restaurant business so they opened their own just off I-40 and 25/70 in Jefferson Co. It was called Lucky 13 truck stop. It was located not far from the 415 mile marker, and she ran it from 1974 until 1980, when the property was sold. At times the days were 24 hours and always busy. By then hamburgers were 75 cents.
So, why an antique shop? How did this come about? "I've always been a collector," she said, the first things collected being teapots, then butter dishes, and photographs. "Then I went crazy," collecting everything and buying estates for resale. She and Ailor would travel several times a month to Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta to sell at large flea markets. When Charlotte Mims opened the mall off Heritage Boulevard, Imogene saw this as a way not to travel as much and let the customers come to her. This building now houses Smoky Mountain Health Care & Hospice. It was here that I met Imogene and wrote about her antique sales. Some of the furniture she sold brought prices high enough to justify her delivery as far away as Washington DC. It was always what the Turners wanted to do, have a shop and sell antiques, but as they've gotten older the work is harder. Ailor had open-heart surgery three years ago and had to slow down. She also developed an unusual health problem. It started when she began noticing a lot of muscle aches that grew worse and all over her body. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but under the care of Dr. James Williams is doing much better with medications.
By late fall last year, she was ready to go back to work and leased the store owned by the Kent Bewleys, opening last Nov. "We put in some 12 and 14 hour days getting set up. But I'm so enjoying it. The people have accepted it well." And I can see why from the great variety of items on display. This is not a junk shop and has something for most collectors at reasonable prices. Of course there is furniture, large and small, like the milking stool. Vintage purses, jewelry and table linens are on display among the glass and dinnerware of many colors and patterns. She showed me a most unusual clock/lamp. It depicted Huck Finn fishing. Her big seller last Christmas was antique aprons. These sell for about $10 each. She has many of these from the 1950s and 1960s, including earlier ones made from colorful feedsack material. Just as popular to some collectors are table linens. A Knoxville woman discovered her large offering and bought four of them at prices from $25 to $35 each. The shelves are neatly arranged with kitchen utensils, figurines, silverware and lots of salt and pepper shakers. If you like advertising collectibles, Imogene has many local ones. Here are a few: Lillard Cleaners measuring scoops, Bush & Balch Contractors ash tray, George Little Insurance calendar, matchbooks-I saw one with squire W.D. Hogan's name, and Mary Ruth Holt's Exxon name on a US map at the station that used to be at Lincoln and Broadway. There are military collectibles, political buttons, toys, Elvis Presley items, and books. Business has been great, especially since she's moved into downtown. One South Carolina woman's family stopped and the older, handicapped woman who remained in the car had seen a doll in the window. She paid $150 and also bought other items.
- [S24] The Newport Plain Talk, (http://www.newportplaintalk.com), 25 Jan 2013.
If you need to beat the cold try antique hunting indoors
©2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL
Imogene Turner is happy to have her new location for Ace Antiques open off Jefferson Avenue, a stone's throw from Movie Time Video off East Broadway. She tripled the floor space to display more collectibles and antiques.
Author: David Popiel
Just when you thought it was safe to come out in the sunshine around our hometown the weather returned to a winter forecast for snow and ice on Friday and energy providers were glad to see cold days.
Good to see business expanding
Last Tuesday I saw vehicles in front of the new home of Ace Antiques, now located off East Broadway at 116 Jefferson Avenue, behind Kyker's Automotive. Imogene Turner put in a lot of work to move thousands of items, but she is pleased because the business has tripled its floor space to 1,600 square feet. Her regular customers (I saw Mary Dunn shopping around) will find the building just across from Stanberry machine shop. Imogene told me she has plenty of antiques at her home and will be able to display and sell them at the new location. She also regularly uses our Visiting the Smokies monthly tourist publication to reach travelers. After 33 years in the business, Imogene has a keen eye and knowledge of antiques and collectibles. "The hot items" currently include old crocks, churns, and local advertising signs. Also, collectors still stop in seeking military and political themes. For the past five years Ace Antiques has been in downtown Newport. The building had been the Broadway Music business of J. Williford and others, including Imogene's husband, Ailor Turner. They are co-owners of the property with Mrs. R.V. Freshour.
During this wet and windy winter let me repeat a warning heard from a health care professional. I was at a meeting with this fellow who said that at least four people were treated at the emergency room because they were struck by tree limbs. The limbs fell from trees in the peoples' yards. Also, Newport people were traveling to Greeneville in recent days and a tree fell on their vehicle. If I find out who they were, I will share the information with you. Soggy ground caused by heavy rain allows wind to easily topple trees. The Plain Talk is in the midst of drying out after much of our ground floor was under water because of walls leaking. Sean Ellison of Brockwell Construction visited to find out a remedy. Servpro has been a big help on the dry-out.