Photos by Kara Thorpe
Flatbeds and Tailfins provides an eclectic mix
Native Virginians Jewel and Carter Longerbeam moved to Remington about 23 years ago from Northern Virginia. They transitioned from the suburbs to a more rural environment in order to have property and space for Jewel’s horses.
Over the decades, their lives may have changed as their family grew to include three sons, but one thing remained constant – their love of vintage-style furnishings, musical paraphernalia, and artwork. Their passion for these items never diminished and is fully embedded into their business, Flatbeds and Tailfins, and their lives.
Their business sprung from an idea Jewel and Carter developed about 15 years ago, but finally acted upon in the fall of 2017. “We like diner and ‘50s decor. We even liked farmer, hard-worker themed items, as well as the 1940s and 1930s style furnishings,” shared Jewel. She explained their retail items provide an option which appeal to many and include new, vintage, and antique items. Everything displayed belongs to Flatbeds and Tailfins; they do not consign, but on occasion will purchase items from customers if it is tailored to their theme of offerings.
The name Flatbeds and Tailfins reflects the 1930 and 1940 eras; a time when people worked hard and the trucks they utilized were worked just as hard. Jewel explained, “Most people used flatbed trucks, and used them primarily because times were tough and the vehicles they drove were too – a very utilitarian era.” The Tailfins part of the name was selected to represent the 1950s and 1960s. She shared, “It was a time where our nation prospered and finer things introduced in the the average household. Luxury cars were being driven, and the cars with tailfins were kings.” She also explained the name is “the embodiment of the era from music, to automobiles to the furnishings in the homes of that time and place.”
The location’s atmosphere creates a positive experience for patrons. According to Jewel: “It’s a ‘memory lane’ for people when they come in. The items we have here create a throwback of memories and it is encouraging to those who visit.” She has experienced first-hand many customers sharing recollections as they view an item similar to something they have experienced in their own life.
Over many years the Longerbeams purchased furnishings, art, and home decor items and stored them in order to convert their dream of a store into a future reality. Carter even delved into musical instrument purchases, specifically guitars. The enthusiasm the couple had for seeking out treasures of the past is what enabled them to create the inventory customers now are able to peruse.
The Longerbeams purchased the store’s inventory through estate sales, auctions, and yard sales. “Yard sales are my favorite,” said Jewel. “You find treasures there…people want to get rid of things. That was really our kick-off to this endeavour. We loved it.”
Inside the store there is no “hands in pocket” policy. Jewel said, “Our store is child-friendly and is open to customers of all ages and economic backgrounds. We have established fair prices, and there’s something for everyone here.” The Longerbeams even decided to sell snacks, sodas, coffee, and water for those visiting the store – which is handy when children become hungry during their visit.
Jewel explained her favorite items are the furniture pieces, specifically the wooden ones: “They are fun and I personally love the history behind the items we sell. For example, inside one of the ‘knock-down’ armoires we found a note that actually mentioned the piece was shipped from Germany prior to Hitler’s takeover.” Jewel also said, “The ‘knock-down’ style of armoire is made to come apart like a puzzle to make moving such a large piece easier” even if it was only a move to another room. “his style was popular in Europe to the narrow staircases,” Jewel explained.”
Carter has a soft-spot for musical instruments, and he specializes in locating and purchasing used items, some of which still have the original price tags on them. Shoppers will find electric, acoustic, and bass guitars, banjos, and mandolins for sale. The ample inventory is not too overwhelming. Jewel said, “We are concerned with quality versus quantity in the instruments we sell.” Guitar brands include well known ones such as Fender and Ibanez.
Since musical inspiration is a strength, the Longerbeams also added albums in their inventory. A variety of used vinyls are available for purchase, and if visitors no longer have a record player, they may purchase one at Flatbeds and Tailfins. Turntables from the ‘80s and ‘90s, as well as vintage ones are available. Additionally, enthusiasts will find authentic old fashioned radios to use or to decorate their homes with.
Although the store offers lamps, artwork, decorative items, furniture, guitars, hand-painted backdrops, and so much more, they offer yet another service, live music once per month. So far, participants have been entertained by bluegrass, blues, country, rock, and tribute artist concerts. The Longerbeams are even planning an Elvis Gospel Christmas performance for December of 2018.
Since the end of October 2017, Jewel and Carter have opened their doors to the community, surrounding area, and visitors who are passing through. “We have come across wonderful people,” she said. “The Town [Remington] has been encouraging, especially when it comes to the music.”
Although the store offers a myriad of items Jewel mentioned there are four very popular items they are continuously restocking: “Anything rooster or chicken related, new, but vintage-looking metal tin signs, record players, and vintage radios (such as Nordmende).”
The next time you visit Remington, stop in the store; maybe relive some of your own memories, and possibly take some nostalgic items home with you. This affordable, friendly atmosphere is perfect to spend a few hours for your next shopping adventure.
Flatbeds and Tailfins is located at 300 E. Main Street, Remington. For more information please call them 540-422-2507 or visit their Facebook page.
Hours of Operation
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
Closed Sunday and Monday.