Wagon Wheel Antique Mall in Murchison is a wonderland of treasures. When you walk in the door you quickly realize it is the Disney Land of antiquing with an abundance of nooks and crannies to explore.

Owners Patrick Bahr and David Michelini said they first moved to Athens in 1999 to escape the population explosion in Dallas. When they arrived, they set up shop with Laverne Whisenhunt at Alley Antiques in downtown Athens.

“We were in business with Laverne for 15 years and never exchanged a cross word,” Bahr said, moved to tears at the thought of his dear friend.

They set up their own shop locally in 2004 at the current location. Over the years they have enjoyed the tourists that come back year after year and repeat customers they have gotten to know.

“They are amazed that each time they come in there is something new,” they agreed.

Pat grew up in Nebraska and is no stranger to the antique business. His mother and grandmother collected antiques and his grandfather restored stage coaches and Studebakers. He spent time at auctions as a boy and toured the rodeo circuit with his family, their team of oxen and restored stage coach. Which is where the name Wagon Wheel comes from.

“When I was a kid I was always going to auctions with Dad,” Bahr said. “Dad was a rodeo man.”

Bahr was no stranger to country life, but Michelini was in for some serious culture shock. Growing up in San Francisco it was like a foreign land to him. Opposite or not, they celebrate 26 years together in February.

Their ranch home is modern on the outside, but filled with antiques from family, friends and things they have picked up over the years.

“I love the old things and try to imagine the stories these little things may have been part of,” Michelini said.

One of the things that resonates with them about antiques is the modern applications. Bahr and Michelini were both raised to take care of what they had. Repurposing items and repairing belongings falls in line with being environmentally conscious. The quality of most antiques seems to surpass that of newer items made to be less expensive and have a faster production rate. The antique business is green.

One additional benefit of being in the business is, they can select items to enjoy for a time and then send them on for someone else to love. They also have an eye for items that suit their clients personal styles. One woman came in and looked at an item for months, they knew it was perfect for her. She now has a unique headboard that is the centerpiece of the room and a great conversation piece.

Go visit Wagon Wheel Antiques and see what treasures you can uncover. The store is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is easily accessible at 7150 S. Highway 31 E., Murchison. Visit its website at www.wagonwheelantiquemall.com or call at 903-469-4321.

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