“American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe spends much of his life in and around small towns. He’s attracted by the things that make them special—their stories. A product of Iowa himself, Wolfe is thoroughly inundated in small-town culture.
LeClaire, the small river town in which one of his Antique Archaeology stores is located, has benefitted greatly from the attention Wolfe has helped give it. It has become a tourist destination as a result of its connection with “American Pickers.”
Of course, according to an article published by the Des Moines Register in 2019, the fact that LeClaire is the hometown of Buffalo Bill has helped it greatly as well. But most small towns don’t have one, let alone two major claims to fame. That complicates their attempts to navigate a place in our modern world.
And per the interview Mike Wolfe gave the Register, that’s exactly what he’s trying to combat with “American Pickers.” By traveling to these places and putting their fascinating histories on display for a national audience, Wolfe is doing his part to help keep them alive. The alternative is unacceptable to Wolfe.
“When we lose small towns, we lose everything that we stand for,” Wolfe said. “We lose entrepreneurs. We lose historic properties, we lose pride, we lose jobs.”
In the interview, Mike discussed a Kansas man who was undeterred by the middle-of-nowhere location of his business.
“Young guy, 35, had an antique car business in the middle of nowhere, Kansas. How did it survive? Online sales. Ninety percent of his stuff for sale is online. He could be on the moon and he’s selling stuff!” Wolfe continued.
At the end of the day, we live in a nation founded on small community values. Wolfe is trying to maintain some pride in that.
‘American Pickers’ Star Emphasizes Need for Younger Generations to Branch Out
There is an apparent prestige that comes with living in major cities like Los Angeles or New York. But “American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe maintained that younger people should try their best to avoid that mindset in the article from the Des Moines Register.
In today’s day and age, many aspiring business owners are capable of finding success nearly anywhere. Furthermore, by pursuing these business ideas in places like “Brownsville, Texas, or Boise, Idaho,” people can help repaint the picture of what being in a smaller town or city means.
Plus, the benefits can be invaluable. For one, the cost of living in places like these comes out to fractions of what folks would pay in Manhattan or Beverly Hills. All of those savings can right back into a business venture that otherwise wouldn’t have been feasible.
The “American Pickers” star clearly has a soft spot for the cultures and people he encounters in the “flyover country.” And he’s doing his best to change that stigma for good.