SUNDAY ROUTINES: Smiley’s ‘picker’ spends Sundays working

January 4, 2014 

Editor’s note: This piece is part of a continuing series called Macon in the Mirror. The project is being produced through a partnership involving the Center for Collaborative Journalism, Georgia Public Broadcasting and The Telegraph. The goal is to examine the community and convey your stories, passions and concerns.

John Jones uses his Sundays strictly for business.

A self-proclaimed “modern day picker,” Jones owns EcoRecycle and buys, sells and restores vintage and antique items. He spends Sundays running his shop at Smiley’s Flea Market on Hawkinsville Road.

He’s been doing this type of work for 25 years, and his mother also was a dealer.

“I started at a very young age,” he said. “I’ve been at Smiley’s for about five years now.”

It takes Jones about two hours to set up for display all of his merchandise.

“It’s a lot of moving, unpacking and moving,” he said. “You have to pack antiques really well and be careful about the way you load it and unload it.”

He doesn’t mind the work.

“It’s different, it’s not the mundane, under-the-fluorescent-lights grind of everyday jobs,” he said.

Jones frequently visits rural areas and rummages through people’s unused, outdated items.

He said he enjoys getting a glimpse at the untainted version of people’s personalities, backgrounds, and even happiness through their belongings.

“I think I was born about a hundred years too late,” he said. “I love this old stuff. … The next treasure is right around the corner.”

-- Haley Roney, Carl Williams and Conner Wood, Center for Collaborative Journalism

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