As a boy growing up in Columbus, Warren Pickard spent memorable moments watching cars whiz by the intersection in front of his house. He sat on his porch watching those cars and developing a lifelong love.
“I was looking at cars all day,” recalls Pickard. “I’ve always been in love with cars.”
Now Pickard is sharing his love of cars, ice cream and memorabilia with anyone who wants to stop by his combination ice cream shop and museum at 409 N. McDonough St. in Decatur.
On one side of the shop, which opened in August, is a room for children and teens with a life-size replica of Spiderman, giant Simpson cartoon characters, vintage television sets, pinball machines as well as oversized McDonalds fries in a giant red carton. There’s also a track where kids can race miniature cars.
The ice cream parlor, with its Blue Bell and Greenwood ice cream flavors, is located in the middle, and the museum-like garage section with vehicles from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s is on the other side.
Among the vehicles and memorabilia are:
• 1975 Bricklin SVI, one of only 2,854 that were produced between 1974 and 1975
• 1950 blue Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe that cost $1,482 new
• 1977 silver Mustang II Ghia that cost $5,075 new
• Old style Atlanta police car, and parking meter
• Vintage barber chair
• Cans of Royal Crown Cola emergency drinking water
Warren has been “collecting stuff” since he was 21. He acquired one to two cars a year—worked on and drove them—and one day realized he had more vintage vehicles than he personally needed.
He also fantasized about driving Route 66 and imagined what it would be like to have a diner on the legendry road that stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles. He began scouring metro Atlanta for a spot to showcase his collection.
“I looked all over the metro area. I wanted it to be a garage or service station,” said Warren. “Each and every one of us remembers the cars in our family.”
When he’s not overseeing the shop—which includes dishing up ice cream on occasion and telling curious customers anecdotes about items in his collection—Warren has a rather serious day job—being an Atlanta police officer.
Although Pickard didn’t get his business open in time to take advantage of the summer ice cream season, he’s crossing his fingers that spring and summer of 2010 will be busy and profitable.
Former Decatur High School students Stefanie Donham and Michael Smith stopped by Relics and Rarities for ice cream and some nostalgia in December 2009. While she snacked on birthday cake ice cream and he worked his way through a cup of cookies and cream, they marveled at the cars, trucks and memorabilia.
Donham, 20, who graduated two years ago and now attends Agnes Scott College, said this was her second time at the shop—which is located across from Decatur High, and she was glad to see it come to the neighborhood. She recalled that the old space was a mechanics shop—the kind she didn’t like walking past.
“It just looks awesome,” said Donham of the addition to the neighborhood. “It’s really cool.”
“Just the whole collection is so fascinating,” she said.
Smith, who attends UGA and was visiting Relics & Rarities for the first time, said the combination of dessert and collectibles works.
“It’s really nice to have another ice cream shop,” said Smith. “The collection is so diverse. It’s really interesting.”