When Dwight Lynch first opened Riverside Antiques, he was a full-time farmer who moonlighted as an antique dealer. Though the long-time Williamson County native had his hands full running the 140-acre Pine Spring Farms, he became hooked on auctions and fascinated with the process of purchasing well-worn furniture.
Now, 18 years later, Lynch continues to hold down both the store at 144 Bridge Street in downtown Franklin and his farm in the southern part of the county.
“We’ve been in this same location for 17 years, but we call ourselves Franklin’s best kept secret,” said Manager Lynda McGuire, one of four Lynch daughters. “We have people who have been coming to us for years, but we also have new customers all the time. Once they find us, they’re excited. We really take pride in the store, and having something for every person that walks in.”
Riverside Antiques has changed since the first day Lynch opened the doors. Today, the business carries more reproduction furniture than vintage pieces, and has an impressive inventory of home décor accessories and iron furnishings. Items span the price spectrum, from a decorative picture frame and a piece of folk art to a linen chaise lounge and a custom vanity sink.
And in recent years, they’ve expanded the building to a 5,000 square-foot space—just enough to house the hundreds of home items and iron pieces that they carry.
“When he first started, it was really something fun for my dad to do. He loved haggling prices and finding rare, exceptional furniture,” McGuire said. “He has great taste. As we’ve evolved, we still search for those rare pieces—like that hand-hammered copper table over there—but we’ve transitioned into reproduction and custom items.”
Riverside Antiques has been a family-run business since the beginning. Because he still operates Pine Spring Farms, Lynch employs his wife, Delores, and two daughters to help operate the place. McGuire said though she oversees the daily ins-and-outs, it was Delores who really “kicked the store up a notch.”
“When my dad married her, she really brought her flair to Riverside. She added another dimension, and brought in all the home accessories,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from her. This is a family business, and we all have a special working relationship and are very appreciative of one another. I think that shows in our business.”
Delores, who is an interior designer by trade, offers free, in-store design services to Riverside customers. McGuire said this is just another indicator of how they treat their guests like friends, not customers.
“We always try to act like the people who walk in the door are family. We ask them who they are, where they are from, and help them navigate downtown if they are a visitor,” she said. “This is Franklin, and we make sure people know we are interested in them.”
The store manager said that Southern hospitality and a strong work ethic go hand in hand—and that she learned that directly from her father.
“My dad still works hard. He really instilled certain values in us girls growing up,” she said. “One of those was to work hard at whatever you do, and to always do your best at it. I think that translates into our customer relations.
“We love on the customers that come in, but we get so much love in return from them.”
For more information about Riverside Antiques, visit their website at www.riversideantiquestn.com.
This is part of a series on merchants in Downtown Franklin.