For many of us, shopping is a well-known retail therapy. When you’re on a mission, however, and find that very special something, a gift most unique among the amazing, the perfect item that finishes off the look you’re after, well, the therapeutic benefits can be life changing. Step into Main Street Antique Mall and Design Gallery, three blocks south of Historic Downtown Mooresville, and your senses come alive!
The atmosphere of this truly awesome shopping destination is peaceful…but in a very exciting way. Shoppers wander the wide aisles on a steady discovery expedition, searching for something very particular or something that spontaneously catches the eye. Either way, there’s something for every taste and style.
I met Matt Bishoff as he was setting up his new display, JMB Wood Works, near the main entrance. Matt is a designer and builder of custom furniture. And, I will tell you, his work is heirloom quality, beautiful furniture. “I’m a one-man-shop—everything I make is touched by me,” Matt said with a smile. “If you don’t see what you want in my booth, I can design it and build it, so you can have just what you want.” Matt explained that he starts from rough cut lumber—oak, cherry, walnut, Sapele (a medium-priced African wood that resembles mahogany but with an iridescent quality) and other species, and then makes a sketch of the design. He can easily work from a photo or picture and can make just about any piece of furniture, but he especially likes to build chairs. “My favorite pieces I’ve made so far are the cherry dining chairs,” he said. “Chairs are harder to make, and I like that challenge. I also know that if I can make more complicated or curvy furniture, then I can handle the less complicated, straight designs. I’m pretty much self-taught—my only real formal training goes back to eighth grade shop class. So, my credo is, if it doesn’t work, you learn from it, and try again. I’m more picky than my customers.” Your bedroom, living room, or dining room set, china cabinet or hutch, desk, bookshelves, and tables will be made to last, with real wood, not fiber board—unique, handmade antiques-to-be that you can hand down to your children…just talk with Matt.
Main Street Antique Mall and Design Gallery was named Best Antique Store in 2018 by the Herald Citizen readership. Among the hundreds of Main Street booths, you can find just about any special treasure you want, and then some. During a tour, I fell in love with Folk Art Birdhouses, whimsical, Gothic-style wooden birdhouses made with all sorts of old hardware and wooden embellishments. A can’t-find-anywhere-else booth filled with movie and TV show props is fascinating—a unique resource for local commercial and theatre productions. The ultimate in unusual antique lighting can be found at ‘lil Rusty’s booth. He makes lamps from his collection of metal plumbing and industrial hardware. They are one-of-a-kind beautiful. And the selections are just about endless. Rex Butler, the previous Main Street manager, quoted owner Michal Bay’s inspiration, “I never wanted this to be the biggest antique mall, I just want it to be the best.”
WHAT’S IN STORE
Main Street Antique Mall hosts about 469 booths in its 83,000 square feet space, not including the two adjacent restaurants, Alino Pizzeria, a five-star casual restaurant and the Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden—the “best burgers in town,” Rex said. These enterprises and expanding leased office space are under one roof in the former Burlington Industries mill. The 1893 original Mooresville Mill maintains the look and feel of a turn-of-the-century textile mill with spacious wood beam ceilings, brick walls, and floors that have carried decades of local industry. Main Street is the perfect setting for an astounding amount of antiques, collectibles, arts and crafts, designer finds, handmade foods, special events, and more.
A LITTLE HISTORY
“When this project first got going in 2014,” Rex told me, “the owner’s vision was to have an antique store. By inviting a wide variety of high quality traditional, contemporary, and eclectic vendors to join us, we’ve taken that business plan a step further and expanded to become a true vintage antiques, collectibles, and home décor and furnishings shopping destination that Mooresville can be proud of. Repurposing this beautiful historic building anchors our town’s already popular downtown shopping district.” There are several key components to the success of Main Street Antiques. First is the high quality and solid reputation of vendors who have their businesses in the Mall. Rex and manager, Mike Reed, have high standards for this unique retail experience. “Every booth has a different story,” Mike said. “Some are extensions of antique businesses in the region and collectors displaying and selling their treasures. Some booths are mom and pop enterprises or families looking to downsize or sell family treasures they have inherited. Some of our vendors are artists and craftsmen with original or handmade decorator items, clothing and accessories, or one-of-a-kind pieces that you won’t find anywhere else. Some offer home-canned jellies, and other delicious treats. In each case, we have a strict application process for approval with a very affordable, month-to-month lease.”
A COMMUNITY RESOURCE
Other keys to the Mall’s success are the partnerships throughout our area that keep Main Street Antiques in the spotlight and part of the larger community. Three special areas are the Mooresville Museum Annex, the Mooresville Art Guild display, and The Venue. “David Whitlow at the Mooresville Museum felt that an annex display here at Main Street would be a great way to expose more people to the Museum’s historic exhibits and artifacts,” Mike explained as he showed me the large corner dedicated to Mooresville history. “We’re proud to have Cotton Ketchie’s desk, the original signs from McLean Supermarket and John Mack & Son, along with many artifacts from local businesses, institutions, and families. We have old photographs, documents, and, amazingly, the last original wooden street sign from town.” Jessica DeHart, president of Mooresville Arts, shares the work of local artists in their dedicated booth. “Mooresville Arts partnered with us last summer with Arts at the Mill, a three-day, nationally juried fine arts festival,” Mike told me. “We're planning to fill this space with more art in the future.”
The Venue has a unique old-world charm that is perfect for special events, parties, meetings, fundraisers, and exhibits. The setting of this spacious venue—with the look and feel, still, of the old mill’s history—makes a unique backdrop for a fabulous fashion show, a family reunion or party, trade show, conference, or a gala hosted by one of our local charities—it’s like no other venue around. “Earlier this year, SONY PlayStation launched a new product in The Venue,” Mike shared.
A CLASSY DESTINATION
Word spreads fast, and Main Street Antiques Mall has become a shopping destination of choice. “People come back time and again, because there’s something new all the time,” Rex explained. “People bring their out-of-town family and guests for a day of shopping, dining, and relaxing. And, if you haven’t visited the rose garden out front, you’re missing part of the beauty.” I recommend you put Main Street on your calendar now, while holiday shopping is upon us. There really is something here for everyone!
OPEN Mon–Sat 10AM–6PM
500 S. Main St. • Mooresville