Former LeConte Lodge caretakers part of new Knoxville vintage shop

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – If you are looking for furniture with a story or an authentic gown from the 1970s, there is a place in East Tennessee for you.

A new store has opened in Knoxville where you can find all these “older” things under one roof called Mid Mod Collective.

There are 10 business partners in this new venture. Two of them are Allyson and Chris Virden, who recently retired as the caretakers at the LeConte Lodge, in part to pursue their hobby turned business.

“People love this kind of furniture. People who want it get pretty excited about it and it’s fun to be around that,” said Chris Virden.

Mid Mod Collective is in the Happy Holler/Central Street Corridor area in the old Higginbotham’s Auto Service building. It has been transformed into a funky eclectic showroom with vintage clothes, vinyl albums, collectable glass and lots of furniture.

Allyson and Chris Virden
Allyson and Chris Virden

“We say its a mix of mid modern, danish modern furniture. We do retro pieces, industrial style. 1970s glam is one of the our adjectives!” said Allyson Virden.

All 10 partners bring in their own pieces, but the business looks like a cohesive showroom. All the items are put together, giving it a homey feel, no matter where they came from.

“We have saved a sofa from the dumpster, we find things at estate sales, auctions, yard sales, people will even call us with pieces,” Allyson said.

Most of the refinishing and reupholstering is done at shops away from the store, and often the Virdens say they get so attached to a piece they can’t sell it.

“We have a whole house full of those [pieces.] It happens all the time. It’s great because our house is rotating with furniture.”

Mid Mod Collective had its soft opening in December, but look for a grand opening celebration later this month.  They also hope to see some other tenants at this location soon, possibly a coffee shop and/or an art gallery.

More online: Mid Mod Collective

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