New owner expands Southside Antiques

New owner expands Southside Antiques

Lonna Hamblen brings new life to store

July 10th, 2018 by Allison Shirk Collins in Business Around the Region

Southside Antiques at 1401 Williams St. is having a grand reopening July 20-22 to celebrate its expansion, new dealers and new ownership in the changing neighborhood.

Photo by Allison Shirk Collins /Times Free Press.

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› Call the shop at 423-265-3004.

When Antiques on the Southside opened more than 20 years ago, one of the original owners, Connie Knox, remembers the neighborhood as a much different place.

"There's just so much more vibrancy downtown now," she said.

With the changes in the Southside neighborhood, comes a whole new set of clientele for the antiques store at 1401 Williams St., which changed it's name to Southside Antiques in 2002. In May, Lonna Hamblen took ownership of Southside Antiques and has since expanded the space and added more affordable options to meet a younger, more diverse crowd, she said.

Knox and Jo Althaus — wife of the late Signal Mountain Mayor, James Althaus —opened the store in 1994.

"I would say that the reputation of the shop before was much more high end and the neighborhood was different," Hamblen said. "Before, people would come into downtown to shop here and it was a little bit older clientele who were established and mostly American, French and English high-end antiques."

For 20-something residents in the neighborhood trying to establish a home, some of the prices can be intimidating. Knox is still a "cornerstone dealer" at the shop and sells high-end antiques, like a nearly $2,000 German Brotchen cupboard. But Hamblen stresses she is making the shop more approachable and less intimidating for clients who might not be in the market for an expensive piece.

Since taking over, Hamblen has added a room with items from "Outside Attic" that resemble the farmhouse style that is popular for home decor today. Farmhouse signs and other items can be found for under $100. In the room next to it, Hamblen's mother — Jean Hamblen — sells painted furniture pieces, including a dresser that sold for $250.

"I want everybody to know that yes, there are high-end things in here, but there are also really affordable things and I want to make sure there's something in here for everyone," she said.

Lonnie Hamblen, the new owner of Southside Antiques, poses in front of her traditional furniture pieces at the Southside store. Hamblen was an antiques dealer at several other stores in town the past three years before taking ownership of Southside Antiques May 1.

Lonnie Hamblen, the new owner of Southside Antiques,...

Photo by Allison Shirk Collins /Times Free Press.

At about 3,000 square feet before, Hamblen has expanded the shop to more than 5,000 square feet with 13 dealers and more being added in the coming months. Southside Antiques is having a grand reopening July 20-22 for customers.

While Hamblen now owns and operates Southside Antiques, she still sells her traditional and mid-century modern decor at the shop, too. Hamblen started in the vintage and antiques business three years ago when she left her job as an accountant. She rented out a booth for her pieces at the Vinterest Antiques location in Hixson before then, expanding to Southside Antiques, Vinterest on the Southside and Dirty Jane's Antiques.

Hamblen said taking over her own shop was a "terrifying leap," but she has learned a lot from Knox and said she enjoys promoting the other dealers, too.

"She's a savvy business woman," Knox said about Hamblen. "She's brought it to a new level."

Southside Antiques' grand reopening will include giveaways and gift certificates for dealers at the store as well as gift certificates to other shops in the Southside. Hamblen said she wants to create a "real community" with neighboring businesses.

"Of course, we want to thrive but we want our neighbors too, as well," she said. "It's only good for all of us if that happens."

Contact staff writer Allison Shirk at, @Allison_Shirk or 423-757-6651.

Pictured above are furniture pieces painted by Jean Hamblen of Queen Bee Vintage-Style Home Decor at Southside Antiques. Jean Hamblen is the mother of owner Lonnie Hamblen who said the high-end antique store has expanded since she took over in May, and she has been adding more affordable options to attract the younger and more diverse residents in the neighborhood.

Photo by Allison Shirk Collins /Times Free Press.