Gladewater: Making New From Old - the heritage tourism revival of a rural, Texas town.

Kelly Snowden's case study for The Daily Yonder, 2 August, of the heritage tourism-lead revival of a rural Texas former oil-town through antique shops and special events. She also examines the town's plans to deal with the out-migration of young people and the issue of further economic diversification:

Drive through just about any small town, anywhere, and in addition to the convenience stores, churches and funeral home, you will probably see at least one antique store. To paraphrase Repo Man, "Every town has one." 

It seems as though the image of rural America is changing. Once largely identified with agriculture and other commodity-based activities, more and more it seems rural areas are associated with the quaint antique store devoted to the buying and selling of once personal artifacts. 

The question is why? 

Antique stores require little overhead, are easy to set up, and offer the entrepreneur multiple opportunities. Antiques, or at least "old" objects, can be picked up at estate sales and dealer shows, and simply brought down from the attic. Once set up, shops may create a loyal customer base through specialization (such as in period glassware), encouraging return business from collectors. 

These reasons explain why the individual entrepreneur may decide to open an antique store but they don't account for the development of antique districts and the wholesale re-imaging of small towns. To get at this we must look to the larger rural landscape.