‘American Pickers’: How Many Shoppers at ‘Antique Archaeology’ are Actual Collectors?

by Keeli Parkey

Unsurprisingly, being famous can really give your business a boost. This is something “American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe knows very well.

And during an October 2013 interview with Robin Robins, Wolfe talked about how the success of his popular reality television series about searching for unique finds has increased business at his Antique Archaeology stores.

In fact, thanks to the fame he reached because of the show, the vast majority of people who visit his stores are not serious antique collectors like he is. They come in thanks to their familiarity with him and the television show.

“So, talk about how it’s reflected on my business, a lot of people that come into my stores – I’d say probably 80 percent of them – they don’t collect anything,” the “American Pickers” star explained. “They don’t collect anything. Um, they’re not interested in collecting. They’re just interested in the story.”

The now-57-year-old Mike Wolfe talked about how stories impact the lives of human beings. He also talked about how that changes over time.

“And I think, you know obviously, as children and as we go into adults, we go from chapters to channels, you know. Even my daughter – she’s 20 months – I read her stories all the time. She likes looking at the pictures. She understands the flexion in my voice. … And that’s what we’re doing constantly is telling stories,” the “American Pickers” star also said.

Unsurprisingly, the story of Antique Archaeology and Mike Wolfe changed after “American Pickers” hit the small screen.

“But, prior to the show, um, with my warehouse, just me working out of it, I didn’t even have a cash register because everything I sold was online,” Wolfe also said in 2013.

Mike Wolfe Said After ‘American Pickers’ First Aired He Received 6,000 Emails

Thanks to “American Pickers” that quickly changed.

“So, all of a sudden, the show aired. And the next day I came to the building (and) there was like a hundred people in the parking lot and there was 6,000 emails – 6,000 emails overnight,” Mike Wolfe also said. “And I was sitting there trying to go through them and answer them because a lot of that was leads, you know, and to me, my business is all about leads.”

Wolfe said that he tried to answer the thousands of emails. But after going through approximately 200, he decided doing so wasn’t possible. He also came to the realization that how he approached his store would have to change because of the show.

“The people that came into my store – all of a sudden my business plan had to completely change because they weren’t looking for antiques,” Mike Wolfe also said. “They just wanted like merch, you know – T-shirts, hats, coffee cups, mousepads, leather binders, I mean, calendars. Anything with our logo, we sell now. And so, we all of a sudden had to complete that whole infrastructure literally overnight.”

Mike Wolfe now has two Antique Archaeology stores. One is located in LeClaire, Iowa. The other is located in Nashville, Tennessee.

You can watch “American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe’s 2013 interview with Robin Robins below. His comments about how his fame has brought visitors into his Antique Archaeology stores begin around the four-minute mark of the video.