FRANKLIN, Ind. — Thanks to shows like HGTV’s Fixer Upper, it seems interest has never been higher when it comes to using re-purposed items for home decor.
While there’s no shortage of options online and at various flea markets and antique shops throughout central Indiana, there’s a truly unique gem just 35 minutes south of downtown Indy.
Salvage Sisters Antique Market, located at 398 E. Jefferson Street, has been a Franklin staple for almost 10 years.
Here, old is made new again and “the sisterhood” is alive and well.
“We love old vintage. Anything re-loved. We don’t use the word recycle or re-purpose. We love the word ‘re-love,’” said owner Julie Stewart.
Stewart’s love for antiques started from a young age. She often visited antique shops with her mom and her dad was skilled in re-purposing old furniture.
That passion eventually led to her opening Salvage Sisters nearly a decade ago, before Franklin started blossoming with new businesses and restaurants that you’ll find there today.
“For about the first five years there were only a few stores and I think at this point there’s around 10 vintage, antique-type stores,” she said. “Franklin is a destination now.”
The 4,000-square-foot space at Salvage Sisters is subdivided into spaces that are leased by tenants Stewart lovingly refers to as her “sisters.”
“I have 28 sisters in here. We call ourselves ‘The Sisterhood,’” she explained. “Some of them have been here since day one.”
Sectioned off using re-loved items like old doors and shutters, each space reflects that sister’s individual style.
During our visit, Stewart showed off some of her favorite treasures currently in the store.
“These little dressers are wonderful bathroom vanities [or] buffets in the kitchen…The old washtubs, you can use those as planters,” she noted.
Nearly everything here is for sale, with the exception of a few items that are solely used as display pieces.
When it comes to inventory, there’s one very important rule.
“I limit per vendor 10% [or] less can be new items. I don’t want mass-produced,” said Stewart. “We’ve tried to stay with the old, the vintage… the re-loved items.”
In fact, even the “Salvage Sisters” sign outside is made from re-purposed material.
However, there are a few exceptions like Grey Cabin Candles made in Greenfield and the popular goat’s milk lotions, soaps and other skincare products from Bass Farms in Shelbyville.
“They do it all on their farm out of a barn… It’s family-owned,” Stewart said. “This is the only retail location that the family owns. Everything else is wholesaled out to other stores. And everybody loves it!”
One of their newest additions— called “The Little Boutique”—has already been quite popular thanks to owner Nicole Helton’s fashion mission.
“She is a plus-sized girl and loves shopping boutiques but really struggled with finding sizes that fit her in stylish clothes, so she decided to open this and cater more to the plus-sized girls,” said Stewart.
No matter what kind of treasures you come to find here at Salvage Sisters, you’ll surely be pleased when you check out the price tag.
“You know, they may find it somewhere else, but it’s going to be three times the price,” she said.
Four Things You Need to Know About Salvage Sisters Antique Market:
- Salvage Sisters is open Monday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12-4 p.m.
- Salvage Sisters has been a Franklin staple for almost 10 years. Thanks to the rise in popularity when it comes to using re-purposed items for decor, the shop has become a popular spot for interior decorators to find just the right piece for their latest project.
- Tip: If you find something you love, don’t wait too long because their inventory is constantly changing thanks to their popularity and reasonable prices. “Our shop changes all the time. You can walk in here today and you can come back in a couple weeks and it will be totally different,” said owner Julie Stewart.
- If you’re interested in leasing a space there yourself, well, you might be waiting a while because there’s currently about 450 people on the waiting list.
Another thing you won’t find here?
A Wi-Fi password plastered on the wall.
“We don’t have a computer. We don’t have the internet. We hand write all of our sale tickets… it may be a real tag, but they also may make it out of book pages… We are very simple and we recycle plastic bags,” explained Stewart. “At the end of this, we’re all about recycling.”
For more information about Salvage Sisters, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram.
While in Franklin, check out some of the area’s other top-rated hot spots: