Iuka — Cappleman’s Antiques has been a mainstay of this beautiful hill town for 30 years, drawing visitors from far and wide. With 10,000 square feet, it’s the largest antique emporium in Northeast Mississippi and the largest one that’s not an antique mall.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of people come here and proud we’ve been in business for 30 years,” said Kathy Everitt, who owns the store with her husband, Lee. “There’s not a lot to do around here on rainy days, so visitors to the park and lakes can come here and spend some time.”
Located on Old Business Highway 25 North, Cappleman’s is four miles from the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and 15 miles from Coleman State Park. Other lakes and reservoirs make the area a draw for outdoor activities. Gary Matthews, executive director of the Tishomingo County Development Foundation, says the antique store gives visitors an alternative.
“It’s a fascinating place to visit and is a wonderful asset to the county,” he said. “It pulls visitors from Huntsville, Ala., to Memphis and gives outdoor visitors something else to do here. You could spend a week in there and not see everything.”
Kathy Everitt says visitors might not be able to tell what kind of place Cappleman’s is from the outside. The building has a tin roof and brick walls. “It’s not fancy. We’re just like an old country store with a wood stove in the winter and fans and some air conditioning in the summer,” she said. “You’ll like it if you like digging. We have some people who bring a lunch and stay all day.”
The owners enjoy visiting with their many repeat customers. “We’ve had customers from all 50 states and 15 foreign countries,” Everitt said. “We get a lot of customers here to enjoy the lakes, state parks and Tenn-Tom Waterway. We also get a lot who are just passing through and see our sign on Highway 72.”
Everitt’s parents, Purvis and Ruth Cappleman, began the business in 1975 when they purchased the Ed Hudson store and ran it as Cappleman’s Grocery and Salvage. Everitt recalls many happy days at the family’s cabin at Coleman State Park. They came every chance they had.
Purvis Cappleman was a Memphis policeman and avid bottle collector. During his off days, he bought bulk quantities of salvage groceries in Memphis and sold them in the Iuka store. As salvage groceries became harder to find, the Capplemans began displaying some of their considerable collection of antiques and collectibles. These items sold so well that the store was converted to Cappleman’s Antiques and Collectibles.
“It was more my dad than my mom,” Everitt said. “He was a member of the Memphis Bottle Club and had connections.”
The business expanded to seven large rooms and the Everitts were asked to join in 1978. Lee had just graduated from Mississippi State with a business degree and Kathy had worked a short time as a paralegal. The two 48-year-olds have contentedly run the business ever since.
They have, however, put their own thumbprint on Cappleman’s. Lee specializes in refinishing and restorations and Kathy added glassware, porcelain, books and magazines and more antique furniture. The store also has items of historic interest, drawings from the Civil War artifacts and battlegrounds in the area.
“We just fell right into it. My dad didn’t like the selling,” she said. “We started reading and studying. Lee is so good with wood and has always enjoyed history.”
She says she’s still not too good with collectible dolls, but after 30 years she’s competent with most other antiques.
Kathy also does appraisals and Lee gives advice on restorations.
A tour of the large building reveals a room for books and magazines. Books date from the 1880s to the 1960s and magazines from the 1920s to the 1960s. Everitt says she handles some used books and can get on the computer and locate titles in the store’s collection. She has many popular magazines, including Life, Time, McCalls and Ladies Home Journal. Many shoppers often purchase a magazine from their birth year.
The biggest room is mostly filled with glassware and historical items. Four rooms are filled with antique furniture. Displays are set up representing a country store, kitchen and drug store.
“We have a room with bottles like you wouldn’t believe,” Everitt says.
Lee Everitt’s restoration work takes up the remainder of the space. Kathy says he’s self taught, very talented and stays busy. “He can carve out anything; replacing pieces or making it from scratch,” she said. “That’s something that needs a lot of tender care so don’t give him a time limit.”
She adds that his section of the building is his domain, and she’s only allowed to walk through it.
True antique lovers, the Everitts live in a house that dates to 1878. The high ceilings allow plenty of headroom for large pieces such as the 12-foot headboard in their bedroom. They especially like pieces from the 1900s to the 1930s and that includes their 1926 iron/porcelain gas stove. Kathy says she loves cooking on it.
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.