Antiques shop features the ‘unusual, well-loved and worn’

HARPERSVILLE – Barbara Adkins has a strict standard for any piece to be added to her antiques collection.

“If I like it, I buy it,” said Adkins, who has owned and operated Black Sheep Antiques in Harpersville for about three and half years.

The shop, located at 39509 Alabama 25, near the intersection with U.S. 280, is full of pieces that fit Adkins’ style: “unusual, well-loved and worn, comfortable and not too refinished and fancy.”

Pieces, including garden antiques, come from estate sales and antiques shows across the country, and each is hand-picked by Adkins, who earned a post-graduate degree in antiques appraisal.

“That’s the fun part,” Adkins said. “You get to shop—guilt-free shopping.”

Adkins’ favorite current piece is a folk art hat tree created in Charleston in the 1920s from the rail of a rope bed, a wheel hub, Victorian table pieces and deer antlers.

“My entire adult life I’ve been a collector and have stalls in antique malls, and got to the point in my life where I wanted to leave my real job and do something fun,” said Adkins, who worked in contract furniture sales.

Black Sheep Antiques is located in a former feed and seed building.

The building also served as a vehicle maintenance shop and sat vacant for a time before Adkins purchased the property.

“I always loved the building. I remembered it from my childhood,” Adkins said. “It had been for sale for a long time. My husband said, ‘Why don’t we buy it and store your antiques there and get them out of my barn.’

“My passion is historic preservation, so it was natural for me to get a historic building to put my antiques shop in.”

No market studies were conducted before deciding to open the business, Adkins said and credited the shop’s success to lake traffic and social media promotion.

Adkins and her husband, Sonny, live about 4 miles away from the shop—“I’m the picker, and he’s the packer,” Barbara Adkins said.

“Black Sheep” was chosen because it represents “anything different, unusual, kind of naughty,” Adkins said.

After the shop was named, Adkins found a decorative black sheep online being sold by a Chicago antiques dealer.

“She is the only thing in the whole shop that isn’t for sale,” Adkins said about Ewenice (pronounced like Eunice). “She’s a great pet. She doesn’t pee or poop or eat. And she’s a great listener.”

Ewenice is a favorite of children who visit Black Sheep Antiques—and often the subject of growls from the dog-friendly shop’s four-legged customers.

Black Sheep Antiques is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays and by appointment.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact Adkins at 283-6796 or uniqueblacksheep@yahoo.com.

Also, follow Black Sheep on Instagram (@uniqueblacksheep) and Facebook (@blacksheepcuriosities)