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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • History Channel show 'picks' downtown Washington

  • WASHINGTON – When Curt Reynolds first arrived to open his store Friday morning, he saw the parking lot stuffed with vehicles including an RV and a U-Haul.

    “I was a little frustrated with all the cars at first, and then I saw Frank,” Reynolds said. “That made everything all right.”
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  • WASHINGTON – When Curt Reynolds first arrived to open his store Friday morning, he saw the parking lot stuffed with vehicles including an RV and a U-Haul.
    "I was a little frustrated with all the cars at first, and then I saw Frank," Reynolds said. "That made everything all right."
    Reynolds, owner of Brunk's Sports Center, 122 N. Main St., was among the people who gathered in the alley behind the 100 block of North Main Street in downtown Washington to watch for the stars of the TV show American Pickers, Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe.
    "It's exciting isn't it?" Reynolds said.
    The History Channel show arrived in downtown Friday to pick through what is left of the Herbst Co., a variety store that closed in the 1970s and remained virtually untouched in years.
    George Herbst said his sister, Jeannie, reached out to the show several months ago. The store was opened in the early 1940s by Herbst grandfather. Herbst parents owned the store until it closed and remain owners of the property.
    "It's been on their list deemed for picking for a little while, but we got the call last week that they were coming," Herbst said.
    Brent Kuhlman, a friend of Reynolds, watched the activity in the alley as people gathered around the Antique Archaeology van to get photos.
    "My wife is going to be so jealous," he said. "We're both big fans of the show."
    Kuhlman showed off a few photos he snapped while the show's cast and crew were getting ready.
    "I got a picture of Frank eating Oreos," Kuhlman said.
    Meanwhile, 9-year-old Jack Armstrong of Washington just happened to be out of school Friday morning for a doctor's appointment.
    Good thing, too.
    Armstrong's mom, Erin, heard from a friend that American Pickers, were in town filming an episode of their show.
    "Jack has been a pretty big fan of the show," added Erin Armstrong.
    His patience was rewarded by a photo opportunity and an autograph with Fritz.
    "I've been to both stores," Jack said of the Antique Archaeology stores in LaClaire, Iowa and Nashville, Tenn.
    "I liked them both (the stores) but I expected them to be bigger," Jack added.
    Other fans who arrived included Darlene Philips of East Peoria. She said a friend alerted her to the Pickers.
    "I always worry about them needing a tetanus shot," Philips said. "But I also love to see what they will find next."
    Becky Holmes walked down the alley hoping to get a few photos of the van. In addition to the van, she got a photo with Fritz.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I didn't think we'd get to see them," she said. "But this is awesome."
    The episode likely will air in three to four months. American Pickers production staff, Wolfe and Fritz politely declined to comment for this story.

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