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Small Business Spotlight: Kudzu Antiques + Modern

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Small Business Spotlight: Kudzu Antiques + Modern

Kudzu Antiques + Modern. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Greater Decatur, GA — Walking into Kudzu Antiques + Modern, customers are greeted with some special finds, both old and new. The store features various bays staged with antique furniture, and offers wares like clothing, dishware, light fixtures and more.

Kate Lawes spent a lot of time in the store as a teenager, watching her mother, Emily Campbell, run the shop. Kudzu Antiques has been in Kate’s family since 1979. The store came about as Kate’s father was planning to open a paint store.

“He came home, and he said ‘Emily, I’m not going to do it,’ and she said ‘I’ve always wanted to open an antique store,’” Kate said. “She was exposed to antiques growing up. She thought it’d be a great thing to do.”

Kate described Kudzu Antiques as having an eclectic vibe and offering items from furniture to lighting.

“We’re really fortunate to have the space to offer substantial and great pieces [or furniture] of different eras. We have things from the late 17th century to current,” Kate said.

Kate has owned Kudzu Antiques with her husband, George Lawes, since the early 2000s.

“We are Atlanta’s oldest, continuously operating, family owned antique and furniture business. We’ve been in business for 45 years. We’re third generation at this point,” George said.

(Left to right) Kate and George Lawes have owned Kudzu Antiques + Modern since the early 2000s. Kate joked that their dog is the employee of the month every month throughout the year. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Kate and George both had different careers when they decided to help run the store and ultimately purchase it. They had begun caring for the store when Kate’s mom became ill.

“When her mother passed away we decided to purchase the business which at that time was a small, struggling antique mall popular in the area, but we’ve rebuilt it into what it is today,” George said.

They thought Kudzu would be a fun business to run, and it has given them many opportunities to travel the world to buy and sell various pieces. George and Kate travel to Europe throughout each year searching out antiques.

“We once bought a fantastic 1950s mahogany bar from a café is Marseille, France,” George said. “We currently have an eight-foot-tall handmade clown in the shop. We’ve bought and sold numerous carnival pieces from old carnivals.”

Kate had also always wanted to be part of the family business. She grew up in a family that appreciated antiques, and she loves a good aesthetic. She also appreciates that no two days are the same at the store.

“It offers an opportunity to use a lot of different parts of yourself and wear a lot of different hats whether it’s the design, the purchasing, the creative part, the people part – helping customers an object of their affection,” Kate said.

The dealers that Kudzu works with are also an integral part of the business, offering different genres of antiques. Kate also praised the Kudzu Antiques team.

“It’s a lovely to work in an environment where everybody is participating,” she said.

There are now two Kudzu Antiques stores, one in Greater Decatur and one in Sandy Springs. George and Kate also did a pop-up store in downtown Decatur for a few months last year in the former Sweet Melissa’s space. The pop-up was a mini furniture and gift store.

“It was a lot of fun and very successful and everybody seemed to love it,” George said. “We would love to have a presence in downtown Decatur, but spaces are hard to come by. It was fun to do that.”

Kudzu Antiques + Modern is located at 2928 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. in Decatur. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12-6 p.m.

Kudzu Antiques + Modern offers new and antique items like furniture, lighting and decor. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

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