Find a bargain at these antiques shops along Alabama's back roads.

Deals Worth the Drive
City Antiques features a cluster of rustic buildings stocked full of furniture, tin signs, and other accessories.

We all know antiques stores can be cluttered mazes of hidden treasures. Narrow pathways cut through shelves and cases full of, well, junk. The excitement in shopping this way, though, lies in finding the hidden jewels amid the sets of porcelain puppies or beneath tattered quilts. Sometimes that same thrill is in the hunt just to find that perfect antiques store. We had fun winding down rural Alabama back roads to discover a few of our favorites in Pell City and Brundidge. We have a feeling you will too.

Take Your Time at Tims
David Tims got into the antiques business in 1967 after selling a couple of brass beds from the pickup truck he parked in front of his service station. Almost 40 years later, David fills three warehouse-size showrooms in Pell City with antiques, reproduction furniture, imported lamps, stained glass, porcelain, Remington bronzes, and other pieces from all over the world. You'll have to get used to shopping here, though, because there are no price tags. When you find something you like, an assistant writes down its code and walks to David's office in the back. Almost ceremoniously, David will ease up front and offer a price. "I tried pricing, but nobody ever wanted to pay that price," he says. "They always like to haggle. Of course, they figure out I like to haggle too."

All three of his locations are within 2 miles of each other, but the back roads might get a little confusing. Our recommendation: Visit David's main store, the old general store, first (see directions below), and they'll get you to the other two.

Bargains in Brundidge
It's okay to call Oscar McDowell O.K. In fact, he'd prefer it. He'll even answer to Alabama Sign Man, his self-dubbed title. "I figured that since I had more signs than anyone else, I was just going to keep that name," O.K. says with a chuckle.

And signs he has. You'll find all kinds of authentic tin signs, advertising everything from RC Cola to Goodyear Tires, in his five rustic buildings. O.K. built one and moved four here from the countryside in and around Brundidge. Of course, he also carries old gas pumps, metal gliders, antique heart-pine furniture, and other pieces.

Because you're into antiques, you'll want to explore downtown too. With five other antiques stores in this small town with a population of little more than 2,300, Brundidge calls itself Antique City.

David Tims Antiques: 2812 Hardwick Road, Cropwell, AL 35054; (205) 338-7929. Directions: From I-20, take Exit 158, and drive south on U.S. 231 for 3 miles. Turn left (east) onto State 34, and the main store is 1?2 mile on your left. City Antiques: 132 East Troy Street (also State 10), Brundidge, AL 36010; (334) 735-5164. Directions: From U.S. 231, take the Brundidge exit, and turn left onto State 10.

"Deals Worth the Drive" is from the September 2004 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.