Matt Earle is a happiness seeker. He does a lot of traveling to find treasures that will make his customers smile. He’ll even go all the way across the ocean to England. That’s where he made a magnificent discovery recently.
“I met a guy who makes a really good line of English garden statuary. All the pieces are handmade in Devon, England, from locally sourced West Country stone. I’m ordering a good selection of what I think will appeal to customers,” says Earle, who is president and owner of West End Antiques Mall on Staples Mill Road in the Crossroads Shopping Center.
The English outdoor decor will be showcased in a brand new section that just opened outside the building, and Earle invites you to come visit to see this firsthand.
“Richmonders love their gardens. They love their curb appeal,” he says.
Decorative planters, benches, sundials, columns, and busts are among the many choices. “I also have a pair of dogs that would make a good look on the front porch,” he states. “They’re all weather resistant and made for outdoor use. I’m going to be the sole distributor on the East Coast for this company,” Earle shared.
His vision for a picturesque garden center and vibrant potting clinics will energize the entrance of the West End Antiques Mall. For more than 25 years, clients have come from all over the state and across the country to marvel at the exquisite antiques and collectible wonders inside. Earle hopes the new English garden statuary section will attract even more customers.
Inside the mall, you can also find gems from England, including antique furniture, which is a popular purchase according to Earle. “The English have the simple lines, pretty wood, and we can offer it at a price point where everyone can afford it.”
“I really enjoy what I do,” Earle says. But, he adds, there’s a lot of work behind the fun. “I spent 6 weeks in England last year…three different trips, driving probably 6,000 miles while I was over there, buying a piece here, a piece there. I really scour for good deals for that reasonable price point. Sometimes I drive 300 miles a day to go to a fair or an auction to shop.”
Sarah Flaig and her children are from Virginia Beach and visiting West End Antiques Mall for the first time. She’s wowed by what they’ve discovered, and remarks, “It’s super eclectic, but at the same time it’s organized in a way to where you get a feel for a certain time period. It’s not like they just stuffed everything in a room together and you’re searching for it. They made it very easy to find everything they have.”
Flaig says the spaciousness of the building and the hundreds of thousands of pieces on display are breathtaking and magical, “When you walk in, it’s room upon endless room, like walking in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
“We love antiquing,” smiled Anastasia Bozeman, also from Virginia Beach, and here shopping with her family. “A lot of this stuff brings back my childhood memories. Now I’m showing my daughter. This is stuff she may never see unless walking in an antique store.”
Margaret Shorter traveled here from Roanoke. “I’m looking for a chest and a few things for my daughter. I feel like I have the best chance to find it here,” she stated. Of the wide selection of antiques and unique collectibles, Earle says, “We bring in the best merchandise, and we literally have something for everybody.”
Sally Langford who works here agrees, “The customers come from all over, from New York to Florida, to specifically shop at the mall!”
The smile on a customer’s face is the delight for Earle. “I really enjoy what I do, and a lot of people can’t say that. I’ve always known what I wanted to do and being able to do it has been very rewarding.”