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Mike Wolfe of 'American Pickers' Is the New Americana Idol

This story appears in the September 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Mike Wolfe is in his element. The star and creator of History channel's hit show American Pickers weaves his way through the vintage motorcycles, folk art and random oddities that line the floor of his new storefront in Nashville, Tenn.'s Marathon Village, a sprawling small-business complex that a century earlier housed the short-lived Marathon Motor Works auto factory.

When construction is complete, the 3,000-square-foot site will serve as the Music City outpost of Antique Archaeology, the collectibles retail shop Wolfe founded in LeClaire, Iowa, more than a decade ago. For now, though, it's a work in progress, to put it charitably--with the scorching summer months closing in fast, the space still has no air conditioning (no electricity whatsoever, for that matter), the front window is shattered and the walls are in dire need of a contractor's attention.

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