Travelers along Missouri’s Highway 13 knew they were entering the city limits of Springfield when they passed the longtime company Carpet Barn and its mascot, a smiling, horse-head wearing a a hat, nearly eight feet high, mounted on the front of the barn. building.
This was the case for a young Shawn Arcedino, who grew up in Springfield before moving to Kansas City.
âEvery time we walked past Carpet Barn and saw this horse, I knew I was close to home,â said Arcedino. “It was symbolic of the years I spent there, with my mother and my grandparents.”
Now the owner of Atomic Collision, an auto body repair shop at 2712 Truman Rd., Arcedino has amassed a collection of yesteryear items including old signs and promotional displays.
Like everyone who has come to love Carpet Barn’s mascot nicknamed “Barney,” Arcedino wondered what would become of him when the company announced it was shutting down in 2017, after 44 years in business. With a new business, Midwest Archery, taking over the address at 4725 N. MO-13 Highway W., the owners of the carpet business initially said Barney would be moved to another location they owned.
Later, the owners of Midwest Archery said they would likely sell Barney through an online auction, with the proceeds going to charity. Meanwhile, Barney was simply taken apart and stored behind the building. Arcedino left his contact details with the owners in case they decided to sell it outright.
Time was passing. Last summer, Arcedino was on vacation in the Ozarks and decided to drop by Midwest Archery to find out about Barney’s status. After speaking with one of the owners who said they would sell it for $ 2,000, Arcedino replied, âSold! While discussing the deal, the other owner indicated that he had another offer of $ 3,000 that he had to honor first – and Arcedino realized they were talking about him – so he ended up paying an additional $ 1,000 to complete the deal.
âI was okay with that, but it was funny how it turned out,â Arcedino said.
Two days later, Arcedino returned to Springfield with a trailer for Barney’s trip to his new home. Once loaded, he decided to stop at a restaurant for lunch, and as soon as he arrived with Barney on the trailer, he drew a crowd who wanted to know where Barney was going and take pictures with him.
âIt was crazy, I just wanted cashew chicken because this restaurant is well known for having the best cashew chicken,â Arcedino recalls.
Once back on the road, he drove with Barney straight to his body shop, where he began a full restoration.
The restoration included the removal of three coats of paint – which had to be done as its last coating was starting to peel off – and the repair of a bullet hole that entered through Barney’s nostril and exited through his play. Next, the seven-and-a-half-foot head that weighs around 400 pounds will be repainted in the original colors. Instead of repainting the horse’s bridle, he’ll make one that can be tied and add the letters “CB” for Carpet Barn to Barney’s hat as an ode to his origins.
Arcedino hopes to complete the restoration by next spring and then put Barney on a trailer for weekend trips that will feel like a farewell tour, so people can have a chance to see Barney fully restored before he does not withdraw from public life. After the visit, Arcedino plans to hang Barney in a real barn he owns that is not visible to the public.
Barney, who is a horse – not a mule or a donkey – was created from a frame of rebar, chicken wire, a layer of burlap and a final layer of fiberglass. Arcedino posts photos of the restoration process on a Facebook page he created, Carpet Barney.
âBarney inspired my love for weird things, roadside attractions, stuff like that,â Arcedino said.
Once Barney is finished, Arcedino plans to return to his other large-scale project, another popular roadside attraction, the Muffler Man.