Ricochet Antiques offers unique relics from the past

“What is one man’s trash is another one’s treasure” is an idiom that has never held more meaning than it does today, when it comes to the popularity of antiques, collectables and artwork.

And in Brownwood, Ricochet Antiques is one place avid pickers can find unique artwork,  retro or antique pieces of furniture,  rare books, old albums, fine china or even a pair of boxing gloves.

Owner, Leslie Gilbreath, a Brownwood native and 1981 BHS grad, has owned the eclectic shop full of collectable goodies for more than 10 years. Prior to that, she had a booth there and worked in the shop for the previous owners, Karen Bien and Judy Allen, who she regards as mentors.

“I sold stuff to them and then they talked me in to getting a booth,” Gilbreath recalled.  She took over Ricochet in 2005.

And she along with the more than 20 folks who have coveted booth space with her, offer up a variety of antiques, relics, artifacts and collectibles.

“I have such good people here,” Gilbreath said.  “My people stay with me. I have a long waiting list.”

Kim Holden has been working with Gilbreath since the two shared shelf space at the shop more than a decade ago.

“We started out there together – she has been with me since day one,” Gilbreath said of Holden, who has a large booth area in the back of the store.

“She has been so instrumental,” she said. “I could not have done it without her.”

Sharon Hannah, a long-standing booth owner, keeps her booth full of repurposed furniture, antiques, and other unusual décor.  Right now, she’s proud of a mid-century modern chest that can double as a coffee table.  Plus, she’s moved her booth to the very front of Ricochet, where she has items like a hot pink birdcage filled with oriental dolls and a bird bath full of miniature birds.

“Leslie has pickers that travel here from Austin – they know this shop,” said Hannah who re-purposes and refurbishes furniture too.

“I do the best here,” she said.

Ricochet is filled with items like a mink coat, vintage dresses, jewelry and even a zebra hide.

“That zebra hide has caused a lot of discussions around here,” Gilbreath quipped.

This isn’t Gilbreath’s first rodeo – she has a seasoned eye for collectables from the past. She’s been doing it all her life.

“I used to do this with my grandmother and my mom,” she said. “Wherever I moved I would go out and pick - I’ve always done this.”

She has traveled the country to find the collectables that she knows her customers want. And, she said her customers range in age from 10 to 80 and have a wide variety of interests.

“Most of my millennial customers have seen something on Pinterest so they are looking for items to repurpose usually,” Gilbreath said. “And then there are those that are looking for specific items, like furniture or artwork.”

Where does Gilbreath find these treasures that she fills her shop with? The seasoned picker goes to garage and estate sales and makes some really eclectic finds.

And then some of the items folks bring to her, like a box of comic books (that are in good shape), albums or a neon flamingo.

Some of the items she has come across require a little bit of research.  And she’s sold some really unique items over the years.

Last week, she sold a “pear burner” to a man, who explained what it was to her as he bought it.

“In the Depression they burned prickly pears with them and fed their cattle with them,” she said. “Who knew?”

For a while, she had a small wagon located outside in front of the shop, where she kept some of her more outdoorsy items. R.J. McCullough of Brownwood owned the wagon.

“It was purchased by a veteran from Brownwood who has it in his living room,” Gilbreath said.

Ricochet is open six days a week, and customers will usually find Gilbreath there, toiling away, redesigning a booth or just generally tending to her loyal customers.  She is thinking about expanding in the future, but she said she’d never leave the Ricochet location.

“I love this and I appreciate everyone,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere.”