Biggar Antiques, owned by the Biggar family, started in the 1940s in New York and moved to Chamblee in the 1970s. For decades, its commercial operation provided antique decorations to chain restaurants across the country like Applebee’s and LongHorn Steakhouse.
But styles change. As restaurants stopped decorating with antiques, the Biggar family turned to the film industry to create a vital source of revenue.
“As the antique world we lived in became economically unviable, the film industry opened up a whole new market for our company and gave us a new career,” says Billy Biggar, who runs the operation with his wife Karin and his brother Jeff Biggar. “Because of the Georgia film industry, we’ve quadrupled our business. It’s so hard for small businesses to make money but we’re doing well.”
Though it provided props to the film industry for the past 40 years, starting with the 1975 movie “The Apple Dumpling Gang,” the company has now completely shifted to focusing on props. Three years ago, Biggar Antiques stopped selling and switched its business to only renting antiques. They are now referred to as Biggar Prop House and run a huge warehouse filled with period props.
The enormous warehouse is full of secret treasures in every corner. The company rented lighting to “The Walking Dead.” The lighting was wrapped in newspaper by their father decades ago and hadn’t been opened since. The date on the newspaper was 1952.
Billy says Biggar Antiques was well-positioned to start renting props. It had a big inventory of period pieces and lots of antique signage that could be used to transform a set — helpful for large period productions filmed in Georgia. Billy believes the consistency of the film industry had a positive impact on his business, allowing him to hire two full-time employees to support the film and television production business.
“The film tax incentives keep Georgia competitive with other states,” says Billy. “We have the infrastructure here and we can make the biggest movies amazingly well now.”
You can see props from Biggar Prop House in productions like “Stranger Things,” “Ozark,” “Ford v Ferrari,” and the live action movie “Lady and the Tramp.”