Shopping at Knoxville’s Intriguing Salvage Yards » Metro Pulse

Shopping at Knoxville’s Intriguing Salvage Yards

For some time I’ve been meaning to write about three especially thrilling salvage yards in town, their rickety outbuildings and crowded aisles full of history, whimsy, and intrigue. These salvage yards are all are second- and third-generation locally-owned businesses, and all their stock is recycled.

• Knox Rail Salvage is the most popular of the three. It’s bright yellow signs are iconic, especially the yellow-painted tower visible from the Interstate.

Knox Rail was started by Walter Carter and Mike Frazier over 30 years ago, and is still owned by Frazier. Often, shoppers may find Nancy Frazier Harbison, Mike’s daughter, behind the counter at the Fifth Avenue store. The large brick warehouse is busy—a steady stream of customers, and the phone ringing off the hook. The Fifth Avenue store has a hodgepodge of household items and fixtures. It is possible to use it like a Target, and I often do, knocking out a varied shopping list on one trip: door mat, socks, school supplies, birthday party decorations. An especially pleasing find were 1986 paper ALF plates, still in plastic wrap.

Where do they get their stock?

“Everywhere,” Harbison says. “Train wrecks, truck wrecks, fires. It used to be 80-85 percent salvage.”

Now Harbison says it is mostly brand-new “first quality” overstock or overruns.

All the plywood in our renovated house came from Knox Rail’s lumberyard, every piece stamped “REJECT,” but still perfectly usable.

Don’t miss the rest of the article via Shopping at Knoxville’s Intriguing Salvage Yards » Metro Pulse.