Furniture Builder Reveals His History
When you think of a business named Rooster Tails, what do you think? Nashville’s iconic hot chicken? Farm animals for sale? A place where you can buy metal rooster tails? For the past almost 17 years, Rooster Tails has been building and selling furniture and decor to people in Tennessee. The history of owners Wayne and Pat Killebrew goes back much further.
“I was born here, and I’ve been here 71 years,” Wayne says. “My grandfather was a master carpenter, and I guess I got those genes and talent from him—I can build anything. I had been building stuff for myself, my family and my friends my whole life and I decided I’d make some money from it too.”
The history doesn’t stop there.
“The main building—the front part—was an old train station 100 yards from the railroad tracks in 1865,” Wayne says. “Some of the glass in the front of the building at the top is the original wavy glass.”
In November 2000, Rooster Tails was born. Upon entering the store, customers will find the original hardwood floors from 1865. Though various tenants have added on to the building over the years, many original parts of the store remain.
“Originally when I bought the place, I didn’t tell my wife for three days,” Wayne says. “I drew pictures of the floor plan and of what I was going to do to the place, and, on the fourth day, I took her out there, and she said, ‘you know, you’ve lost your mind,’ but, over time, I made it look like it does now, and it suits me perfectly.”
Drawing not only helped Wayne show his wife what his plans were for the space, it’s how he “builds” pieces of furniture with his clients.
“When a customer comes in and wants a custom piece of furniture, I usually ask about two to three questions and visualize what the piece or pieces will look like, and draw it out in front of them,” Wayne says. “I give them the drawing and I keep a copy on file so they can go home and think about it and visualize the piece in their space. If they decide they like the piece, I make up a work order and walk it out back, and within five minutes, it’s already in the shop.”
All pieces are made at the store in the multiple workshops located behind Rooster Tails. They’re all 100 percent solid wood. The turnaround time for custom pieces is five weeks.
Rooster Tails also sells home décor including metal items, picture frames and the iconic stars, similar to the one that adorns the main building. They also sell rustic barnwood furniture built by an Amish man in Kentucky.
As for the name, Wayne says he wanted a name that had to be explained—it had to tell a story.
“When I told my wife I was going to name the store Rooster Tails, she thought I was nuts. I wanted to name it Rooster Tails because when someone comes into our store–whether they buy or not—when they go to church, the store, anywhere and they say, ‘oh I went to Wanye’s Antiques,’ there’s not much left to tell. When they say, ‘I went to Rooster Tails,’ the person has to explain what the store is and about their experience.”
Rooster Tails, 4108 Columbia Pike, Franklin, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.