The Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Dr. Eddie and Ann Palmer have been selected as the Business Person of the Year for 2019.
Originally from Tremont, Mississippi, Dr. Eddie and Ann Palmer have dedicated their lives to the studies of art, history, and storytelling. The Palmer’s have been married for 52 years, but have been inseparable since elementary school. They consider themselves lucky to have found a partner with whom they share so many hobbies and interests with.
They have been collecting antiques since the ’60s in Texas, by going to auctions and selling those items on consignment to pay for graduate school. Dr. Eddie received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Ann graduated from Texas Tech in Interior Design and Housing— so, it is clear why the Palmers stumbled upon this hobby of collecting and selling antiques. Dr. Eddie and Ann moved from Lubbock, Texas to Lafayette, Louisiana in 1985 for Dr. Eddie to begin a new position as the Department Head of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. During the move they ran into a small problem, however, they had collected too many antiques and collectibles along the way.
Eventually, they began selling those items in antique stores across Acadiana. The Palmers continued this until 12 years ago when they decided they wanted to quit renting and have a space to call their own. Two years into their search, they found the perfect location in Rayne in March of 2007. Antiques on the Avenue is located in the old People’s Drugstore, where rich history and many childhood stories lie—giving
Dr. Eddie is the Rayne City and Chamber of Commerce Old Spanish Trail committee chairman. It is the Palmer’s mission to make people aware that they are right in the midst of history with of the Old Spanish Trail. They actively collect oral history, by inviting historians and residents alike to sit around a table and share their stories. The Palmers have represented the City of Rayne at numerous national Old Spanish Trail meetings across the United States. In 2018, they hosted an OST Networking Conference in Rayne. As a result of their actions, many cities along the Old Spanish Trail have gained momentum and excitement about the preservation and promotion of our history along this road.
Their involvement in the arts doesn’t stop there. They are members of the Hilliard Society, where Dr. Eddie is also a member of the Board of Directors. They have been guest speakers across Acadia Parish, the Acadiana region, and the country, educating those on the history of Rayne, Old Spanish Trail, Art Deco, and their unique collectibles. Some of these speaking engagements include the Lions Club, Rotary Club, and the Acadia Parish Tourist Commission, to name a few. The Palmers and Antiques on the Avenue have been an integral part of the annual Old Spanish Trail Day Celebration which is held in Historic Downtown Rayne. Dr. Eddie is also a member of the Society for Commercial Archeology, where he joins other members in learning about the history of America’s roadside heritage.
Antiques on the Avenue is not your average antique store. They feature items that customers cannot find in any other store. The Palmers have a keen eye for Art Deco style furniture and collectibles. In addition, they have sold over 350 mold patterns to customers across the world.
In the future, the Palmers look forward to continuing the never-ending search for unique finds and being advocates for art, history, and the City of Rayne.
Although not from Acadia Parish, the Palmers are committed to Rayne and Acadia Parish and take on community leadership roles, get involved, and support the business community. They truly believe in our community, and are outstanding role models and civic leaders.
The 2019 Acadia Parish Honors, our Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony, will be held on Wednesday, May 1st, at the Grand Opera House of the South. Guests will take a look back at the past year and get a sneak peek of what is to come for Acadia Parish’s business community. Current and outgoing Chamber Board Members and Chairman will also be recognized for their efforts.
In addition, we will award several individuals for their contributions to our community. Business Person of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, and Acadia Parish’s Outstanding Young Citizens will be honored as well.
Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. for cocktails and a silent auction. Fezzo’s Seafood Steakhouse and Oyster Bar will serve dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the Acadia Parish Honors may be purchased here.