Tucked away in a small shopping center on Staples Mill Road, near West Broad Street, you’ll discover a wonderland of antiques and collectibles. It’s a place where one can get lost in the past and enjoy every minute of their visit. I’m talking about the West End Antiques Mall at 2004 Staples Mill Road, in the Crossroads Shopping Center.
“Even those who say they don’t love antiques will find something to love at the West End Antiques Mall,” says Shay Moore, who has more than 30 years experience working in the fascinating world of antiques and interior design. Moore was an independent dealer, operating her own space in the mall for three years. For the past three years, she has been a member of the staff that operates the mall.
I asked her to describe the place for those who perhaps have never been. “What we have here are traditional antiques of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries,” she tells me. “But we also have everything else. We provide much more than antiques.”
Moore explains that most people today do not fill their houses with antiques. “They have antiques sprinkled throughout their homes, mixed with contemporary pieces that are otherwise more conducive to the way we live.”
Many of the malls’ 250-plus dealers, who showcase their wares in more than 50,000 square feet of display space, offer mid-century modern pieces. Of such, she says that much of what you find in the furniture store showrooms today are knockoffs of these original pieces.
Continuing, she adds, “We have 20th and 21st century furnishings and home décor that fit beautifully with antiques. The (photo) spreads you see in Elle Décor magazine, with their eclectic interiors – We have that mix.”
Because so many of the items, from antique furniture, glassware, silverware and vintage lamps to old books and photographs, move in and out of the mall so quickly, Moore says that Matt Earle, the owner of the business wanted a place to “showcase things in a different light.” Hence, he created Project One, an offshoot of the mall, located just a few doors down in the same shopping center. Rather than try and describe the difference between the antiques mall, in general and Project One, Moore suggests that you visit both locations and “you’ll see the difference.” From my personal experience in visiting Project One, I can say that the space allows the dealers, many of whom are interior designers, to showcase specific rooms of furniture. In addition to offering individuals who can provide interior design expertise, Project One can also direct homeowners to furniture and lighting repair specialists. And they carry Annie Sloan Chalk paint and offer classes in furniture painting, as well.
Whether you do it yourself, or have one of the professionals at Project One do it, Moore says that, “You can take an older piece (of furniture) that may not fit into your personal trend, put a coat of paint on it, and it’s new and wonderful.”
While the West End Antiques Mall may be somewhat hidden away, it’s certainly not a secret to local interior designers, many of whom visit the place in order to find the perfect accent piece as well as other furnishings. It’s evidently no secret to the major filmmakers who shoot in and around the Richmond area, either. “We’ve had them all,” Moore says, “mentioning such productions as John Adams, Turn:Washington’s Spies, and, most recently, the Showtime series Homeland, starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin.
The West End Antiques Mall is also a favorite with lovers of antiques and collectibles from up and down the East Coast. “We get lots of shoppers from D.C. and Charlottesville, Moore says, “and we’ve shipped items to Los Angeles and New York.”
There is no typical customer, she tells me, adding that many “twenty-something’s visit regularly. “They love the retro look.”
Perhaps you’re not into antiques. Regardless, I can assure you that you’ll love visiting the West End Antiques Mall, even if it’s just for a stroll down Memory Lane.
For more information, phone 804-359-1600 or visit online at WestEndAntiqueMall.com.