The collective of small antique dealers is something that owner Keith Woodie is proud of and seems to count as a success in the tough economic environment of Ashe County.
The antique mall’s recent expansion, almost doubling its space, offers some substantiation of the term success. It is the third expansion in the organization’s six year history.
Celebrating the growth into 21,000 square feet of space at what was the Carolina Tire building on South Jefferson Avenue, Woodie; his wife, Denise and store Manager Karen Carpenter opened the doors on the new space Friday. Friday and Saturday became a grand opening celebration, adding 9,000 square feet and 30 new vendors.
The vendors, totaling about 80, rent space inside the warehouse style building to show more than what Woodie bills as a million items from old “Life” magazines to glassware to hand tools.
Part of the secret Woodie believes is a leaning toward volume selling and low prices. He encourages his vendors to move products quickly with lower prices than customers would find in Blowing Rock antique stores. He said he has seen furniture that would sell for $900 in Blowing Rock, make money at $450 in West Jefferson.
He also considers his labor cost is low. Vendors can bargain time helping to staff the store with cash off of their booth rental.
Customer service is important also. “We will help customers take their purchases to the car. They like that,” Woodie said.
Clientele comes from across the state. He has regular customers from Charlotte and Raleigh and Florida second home owners frequent the mall. E is surprised at the number of local shoppers he has, customers who come by regularly and buy.
“We like lookers, too,” Woodie said. “They may not buy today, but most will be back.”