Hedrick residents to appear on TV
Two local antique dealers will be featured in a series that airs this week on national television.
Gary Smith and Sheri Locke, who live next door to one another near Hedrick, will appear in the series “West End Salvage,” which makes its debut on HGTV at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The focus of the show is a Des Moines-business called “West End Architectural Salvage” that sells and repurposes antiques. Smith and Locke appear in the show because they sell many antiques to the owner of West End Architectural Salvage, Don Short. The pair are recurring characters throughout the series, appearing in half of the 12 episodes plus the pilot.
The pilot episode will air Thursday. The next episode Smith and Locke are in airs at 7 p.m. Feb. 28.
Camera crews filmed Smith and Locke in the fall of 2012 as they haggled with Short over the price of each item stacked in their pickup. When the pickup is fully loaded, it is as high as a semi-trailer.
“Every once in a while, I get a nose bleed up there,” Smith said.
To Locke and Smith, Short is both a client and a dear friend. When filming began, Smith was worried he and Locke could not act like their true, jovial selves in front of the camera. They realized fairly quickly that the producers loved how they traded barbs, which is why they were featured in multiple episodes.
The negotiations caught on film between Smith, Locke and Short are real. At the same time, they are not completely spontaneous. Smith and Locke said the show’s director would tell them where to stand and would sometimes shoot a scene multiple times in order to get the best possible camera angle.
In one scene, Smith is shown getting out of the pickup. The camera focused on his trademark red boots hitting the ground. Smith said that scene was shot 15 times or so.
“Even if they like the first shot, they want to know, ‘Is there one better?’” Smith said. “They never say one is good enough. They’ll want to do a different angle with different lighting.”
The producers began calling Locke and Smith the “Pickin’ Preachers” because they both pastor at Church of the Living Water in Hedrick. The pair also run a food bank which feeds 40 families a month.
Smith and Locke’s business is “Buyers Edge Wholesalers.” They think of themselves as antique wholesalers and Short as an antique retailer. Short often modifies the antiques to give them a new use. Any antique with printed advertising on it is especially prized.
Locke and Smith said this is part of a broader repurposing trend in antique collecting.
“They take a piece of a combine and it ends up in a wine cabinet,” Lock said.
“Older people are starting to catch on to this but young people are already really hip to it,” Smith said. “Young people want something different. They don’t want anything that anybody else has. They do a lot of stuff with ceiling tin, such as turning it into tabletops.”
Locke and Smith find plenty of things that can be repurposed. Locke took the grill off an old tractor and hung it in her house as a decoration.
The two travel an average of 250 miles a day in search of interesting odds and ends. Smith said they shop for antiques from places that are within a day’s drive, because they’ve found there are plenty of antiques in the Midwest.
They locate most of their “finds” through referrals. The two have traded in antiques for decades, and they’ve made quite a few acquaintances in that time.
Locke and Smith have nine large warehouses on their property. They keep so much stuff on hand because they want every retailer who stops to leave with a full load. Antique retailers have come from as far as Washington State to shop at Smith and Locke’s warehouses.
Buyers Edge Wholesalers is only a few years old, even though Smith and Locke have been buying and selling antiques for many years.
Smith had been in the antique business for most of his life until he retired from it, temporarily, in 2008. Locke had performed a number of jobs such as a high school band director, piano store owner, sales manager at a TV station and also an antique store owner in the 1990s.
Apart from collecting antiques to sell, Smith and Locke collect antiques to use in a 19th century western-style town they are building on their property called “Fort Smith.” The town consists of a general store, bank, feed store, jewelry store, barber shop, jail, pizza kitchen, warehouse, church and opera house.
The church is the oldest log church west of the Mississippi River, which still sees services four times a year. The opera house seats 250 people.
Locke said she and Smith are very busy with their business and the up-keep of “Fort Smith.” She said she doesn’t know how busy they’ll be once the television show airs and even more antique dealers hear about them.
Locke said the network has faith that the show will be a success, which is why it placed it in prime time. Locke believes there is a good chance the show could return for a second season.
Those interested in learning more about Smith and Locke, their ministry or food bank may call 641-777-7136.