Frosty's adds addition for flea market

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

By Lonnie Thiele

Special to Business Today

POPLAR BLUFF -- "You can come in and order a good meal and while you're waiting you can shop," said Terry Mizell, co-owner of Frosty's Drive In.

In early September, Terry and Patty Mizell opened Frosty's Flea Market & Unique Treasures after constructing a 36-by-68-foot addition to the eastern wall of their drive-in restaurant. The businesses are located off of Business 60 just east of the Black River Bridge.

Terry Mizell has dabbled in flea markets for the past 20 years, and the past 10 years he has had a stall at a local flea market. And for years he's thought about opening his own store.

"I've been trying to talk Patty into it for five years. She finally said, 'just do it,'" he said.

Since opening, business has been brisk and they spend a lot of time restocking shelves.

"We bought four dozen wind chimes and have two left," Terry Mizell said. They have also had to reorder a shipment of porcelain collectible dolls.

"We're already doing more than I expected and much, much, more than what my wife expected," he added.

One thing that makes the store unique is the reasonable prices on nice used furniture pieces. "A lot of people say our prices are very good," Patty Mizell said. Another thing is the store's neatness. "A lot of people have commented how neat it is. It's not cluttered at all," she said.

Terry Mizell said furniture sales make up 50 percent of the store's business. "We've been open two weeks and I had to go get another load of furniture this week," he said.

"We've got bedroom sets, couches, chairs, end tables and more," Patty Mizell said.

Some of the furniture items are unique. Recently they had an antique dark wood buffet for sale for $375. The piece was made by Reaser Furniture Co. in Gettysburg, Pa., and was initially sold in 1931.

Much of their inventory are collectibles such as John Wayne photographs, NASCAR gifts, die cast cars, pocket knives, Coca-Cola products, rooster and hen-themed items, and Americana kitchenware such as canister sets, cookie jars, and salt and pepper shakers.

"We also have fiberoptic angels, dolls and eagles," Patty Mizell said. "We carry assorted framed pictures, figurines and lamps.

"We're not just a flea market. We have nice gifts and furniture." Both the drive-in and store are family run. Their son Terry Gene Mizell co-manages the drive-in and son Michael Mizell works in the store after school. Terry primarily works in the store and Patty divides her time between both businesses.

Patty's mother, Doris Andrews, helps out at the store two or three days a week. Patty's brother's construction company, Dwayne Andrews Construction, built the new addition..

Frosty's Drive In is still operated much like it was in the 1950s.

"We still have beatleburgers and Suzy-Qs," Terry Mizell said. "We just added hot fudge sundaes and hot fudge brownie sundaes."

Lonnie Thiele is a staff writer at the Daily American Republic in Poplar Bluff.

BIG -- Frosty's Drive In is still operated much like it was in the 1950s. "We still have beatleburgers and Suzy-Qs," Terry Mizell said. "We just added hot fudge sundaes and hot fudge brownie sundaes."

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