Mandy Hall’s late grandfather collected pennies, a lot of pennies, an entire oil drum full of pennies, to be exact. Hall is a collector, too — a collector, who is cashing in those pennies from heaven with a shiny new shop in downtown Dunn called Papa’s Pennies.
“I named it in honor of my grandfather, Sherrill Caudle. He was from Dunn. He actually lived right over there on Pearsall Street,” she said, standing in her shop at 108 N. Clinton Ave., three blocks down from Pearsall.
“He collected pennies all of his life and he passed away a few years back,” she said. Sherrill Caudle left his family with “one of those big blue oil drums full of pennies,” Hall said.
The family kept the collectible ones and cashed in the others. Each time Hall has dipped into her share for a run to the store when things get low she reminds her husband of the meals that come courtesy of “Papa’s pennies.”
“He said, ‘You’re always talking about Papa’s pennies. Why don’t you name your store Papa’s Pennies?’”
So she did.
Papa’s Pennies is a collectibles shop stocked with unique items that seem to tell a story of how Hall turned her skills of bargain hunting and passion to pick into a full-time job. Papa’s Pennies opened in September.
“We’re a bargains and collectibles store,” Hall said. “We have modern collectibles, vintage ’80s retro toys, collector glasses, antique items, thrift items... comic books” and anything unique, she said.
Hall started her business at home, flooding her living room with unique collectibles she sold on eBay. But as her inventory piled up, her husband spoke up.
“My husband was like, ‘You’ve got to do something different about this,’” she said. “So I went and opened a booth up at Harper’s Flea Market in Smithfield.”
But Hall could only use that space to sell on Fridays and Saturdays. So when Heart & Hammer moved from its former home at 108 N. Clinton Ave., a location her husband had helped renovate, Hall decided to claim the space for her first brick-and-mortar shop.
“It’s like a hobby for me. I love doing the searching and finding and picking... We’re a small version of the ‘American Pickers,’ I guess,” she said in a nod to the History channel reality show that made “picking” popular.
“I like people to be able to come in here and be able to find something that they can’t find anywhere else,” she said.
Hall lives between Dunn and Benson and says she comes from a family of collectors and bargain hunters.
Emily Weaver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 910-230-2028.