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Central California Life Magazine

Strolling About Grandpa's Barn, Oakhurst Ca.

Aug 11, 2017 04:34PM ● By Richard Melella

Grandpa’s Barn in Oakhurst, CA has a little bit of everything. It’s the shop for the collectible bargain hunter in all of us. The name says it all- Grandpa’s Barn. You’ve heard the stories about someone digging through an old cedar chest up in their grandparent’s attic or barn; pulling an old suitcase down from a closet or loft and rummaging through old dusty artifacts and photos until they come across that one special item that makes the search worth the effort.

That’s the feeling you get when you stroll through Grandpa’s Barn. The shop is located off the main road that runs straight through the heart of Oakhurst. And as you wander from room to room, looking under this and that, you keep thinking to yourself, “There’s a treasure hiding somewhere in here!”

Grandpa’s Barn is owned and operated by George and Carol Winebrenner. George has deep roots in Oakhurst. Born in New Mexico he moved to Oakhurst in 1978.  From 1978-2002 he worked at Yosemite High. First as a Bus Driver, then as the school’s Director of Transportation. Retirement didn’t last long and soon he found himself traveling up and down Highway 99 doing 4-5 antique shows a year. Each year the toll of being on the road hauling his antiques back and forth started to wear him down physically, and when he heard about a space opening up at the Southgate Station, he decided to settle in and drop anchor. He opened Grandpa’s Barn in its current location in 2012.

George is an animated fellow, pointing around the shop he explains that the store is going through a bit of a renaissance. “When we first started, we had just one room- and we called it Grandpa’s Barn, but we’ve grown and expanded to include Grandma’s Attic- that room includes a lot of Carol’s cast iron cooking ware and kitchen collectibles. George fondly looks over at Carol and continues, then you have the Vintage Flee Room over there; where you’ll find specialty antiques and collectibles. And then we’ve got the Treasure Room over there- that’s my favorite, that’s where I keep all my ‘Mantiques,’ he laughs, ‘things like vintage tobacco collectibles, ashtrays, glassware, pipes, humidors, cutters, matchboxes, and such. And then you need to step into the Jail House- where I keep all the vintage tools, lanterns, camping items, timber tools, and big saws. Once that space is cleaned out’, he says pointing to another shop space that is in the process of being vacated, ‘that room will become the Jolly Mutt - all dog and pet related collectibles- many of them hand made.”

George is a character and on this particularly hot Saturday in July he is wearing jeans and a blue tee-shirt that proclaims, “Never Fear Grandpa is Here!” the cartoon character on the front of his shirt resembles George sans the long white beard. He leads me to his Treasure Room and shows me a few wonderful vintage ashtrays circa 1930.  He is quick to tell me the story behind the two pieces that I am holding. Suffice it to say, his gift for telling a fine story adds to the shopping experience.

Carol’s two themed rooms “Grandma’s Attic” and the “Vintage Flee Room” are full of unique, beautiful and highly collectible pieces staged nicely about the show space. My girlfriend Donna, is eying an elegant hand painted Italian made 4-piece ceramic salad set with estate sale origins that eventually she will buy.

The Treasure Room, and the area surrounding it, is truly a space that looks like you stepped into, well, your…Grandpa’s barn; you’ve got to hunt a little bit, rummage about, and move things around to see what treasure may be hiding under a box or some other artifact.

Grandpa’s Barn is a collectible/antique store for the creative at heart. This store is a great place to swing by for ‘the hunt’ items you may have on your wish lists. Be prepared though, when George sees you walking into the store, he’ll greet you with that time-honored question. “Can I help you find anything specific?”

And you’ll probably reply with, “Nah, we’re looking for nothing in particular.”

And he’ll likely respond back with, “Well, you come to the right place because we specialize in nothing in particular!”

Grandpa’s Barn is packed full of old, rare and unique things.  Parts of the store are a bit cluttered, but that simply adds to the charm and the shopping experience that sometimes is missing when antique hunting. When driving through Oakhurst drop in on George and Carol and say hello. Stroll around and make a discovery. There’s a treasure or two or three that you might find there that would bring beauty to your home or provide another outlet for your creativity.  

Grandpa’s Barn is part of the Southgate Station/Good Ole Things Mall that includes several unique Antique Shops (12 shops and 20 vendors). Southgate Station is located in Oakhurst California right on Highway 41 along the southern route into Yosemite National Park.  Located across the street from the Best Western Hotel.  The Shops are open 7 days a week, and each vendor stock their store or booth on a regular basis, so the inventory and variety of items change frequently.

As always, keep aspiring to shop local and small business.  Happy Hunting!