Ever notice the artifacts hanging from the walls and ceiling at any Cracker Barrel location? Each is made unique and restored by the hard work of our Décor Warehouse team, which brings to life every history-filled piece that adorns our walls. We like to think of every Cracker Barrel Old Country Store as a museum of Americana.
Every year we clean, restore and organize thousands of artifacts, including farm tools, metal business signs, family photographs, hand-crank telephones, cast-iron cookware and old-fashioned toys.
Follow our Restoration Step-by-Step to find out how we bring American history to life.
Step 1: Initial clean-up
Each décor item is initially cleaned with soap, water and a little elbow grease, to bring it back to life and restore its original look and feel.
Step 2: Grime removal
Removing dirt and rust can be a tiresome challenge, especially on items that have been kept in barns for years. We often sand-blast stains, rust and paint from items like antique coffee grinders, boat motors, lanterns and washtubs.
Step 3: Paint
Once all the rust and old paint is gone, we add some touch-up paint to restore the décor item to its original appearance, or at least to how it looked inside the old Sears® catalog.
Step 4: Finishing restoration
When old photographs like this one are reframed, we sometimes find other photos or old newspaper clippings hidden behind the photo. When the restoration of an item is complete, we move it to another section of the warehouse where the design process takes place.
Step 5: Storage
You could call the front half of the warehouse an organized attic. Rows and rows of shelves hold artifacts separated by category.
Step 6: Design
Designers place every artifact on "mock" walls that are the exact dimensions of a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. The design for every store is created at our Décor Warehouse to make each location unique.
Step 7: Perfect Placement
Designers will place more than 950 original artifacts in every Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Smaller items are placed in shadowboxes, like the one next to Wade Winfree's arm. Shadowboxes enable us to create a theme by displaying several smaller items that are similar in nature.
Step 8: Installation
Once the 950 artifacts are selected and placed, designers photograph each wall to show where the items will be placed when the shipment arrives at the new location. Designers later travel to the new location to install the items. These photographs help them remember where everything goes.
Step 9: Taking Inventory
Every item is tagged for inventory purposes. Once the artifacts are selected, we take inventory of every piece and that record is kept on file. Many times stores and guests will call with questions about specific items. Through the bar code system, we can track down answers.
Step 10: Shipping out
From the mock walls to shrink-wrapped cases, all the artifacts are stacked for their future destinations. This shipment was later installed in Charleston, West Virginia. Not shown is the deer head that's placed in every Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, directly above the fireplace.