Mottley Emporium: Going Back to the ‘Good Ol’ Days

Close your eyes and think back to a simpler time. Grandma’s special embroidered hankies are gently flapping on the line. Papa is sitting on the porch swing smoking his pipe and you are struggling to make your metal pedal car move across the bumpy back yard.

Mottley Emporium surrounds you with all the wonderful memories of the past. Each nook and cranny is stuffed full of beautiful antiques and primitives, as well as modern collectibles. You can find everything from cast iron pots and pans to beautiful Fiesta dinnerware, interesting knick-knacks, jelly jar glassware and furniture just waiting to be revamped.

With seven rooms totaling 11,000 square feet stuffed full, there is no telling what you might find. Looking for antique furniture, primitive artifacts, glasswares, costume jewelry? Need to add to a china pattern? You can find it all and so much more. The Mottley motto is best described as all things “old, new used and abused”.  

But the Emporium didn’t start off this way.

In 1963, Robert Mottley held his first part-time job working for Brickett Oil Company at 518 N. Main Street, the site of the current Emporium. Mr. Brickett had a Buick and tractor dealership on the lot and Robert worked after school for $12 a week sweeping up and washing cars. As an adult, Robert leased two rooms of the Brickett Oil Company building to hold Friday night auctions.

Robert believes treating other people’s junk as if it is treasure is in his blood. His mother had an antique shop and his kids grew up doing flea markets. He loves going to estate sales and finding great things for the auctions. After about six months, Robert decided to buy the whole building. His wife, Janice, supported his dream and their young daughter, Lisa, was practically raised in and around the business.  

It was no surprise to anyone that when Lisa graduated high school she began working in the family business, learning all she could from her father.  Lisa never saw herself doing anything else. Lisa says, “I was simply an employee learning a new job. Dad was and still is the business mastermind. He has taught me about the business and since he and mom retired it has become my undertaking to continue to operate Mottley Emporium.”  

Robert still does some auction buying, collecting antiques and primitives from estate sales and still loves that aspect of the business. For the most part, however,  Robert and Janice are now part time help. Lisa now runs the business.  

Lisa’s husband, Eric, joined the team 16 years ago and can usually be found behind the counter.  True to family tradition, Lisa’s son, Robert Evan, grew up behind the counter at the Emporium. It is evident how proud Lisa is of him. She said, “He now helps with loading and moving estates and he is also responsible for Mottley Emporium expanding to social media.” You can find them on Facebook and you can follow them on Instagram.  

Lisa’s been doing this for 30 years and says, “Where else would I go? I have been blessed by working with my family, being able to bring my son to work and having the flexibility to go to school events and games.”

Robert recalls a story about a woman who came into the store quite often just to walk around.  One day the woman stopped at the counter and mentioned she had a brain tumor. She told Robert that Mottley was the best therapy she ever had.

Lisa says, “I have been blessed by all the people I have met and befriended through this business over the last 30 years. I would have missed a lot working anywhere else, for sure.”

You will miss a lot if you do not visit Mottley Emporium, a true hometown shop that takes you back to the good ol’ days.